What Do The Numbers Mean
Now the challenging part: How do you know if you blood sugar numbers are good or bad?
First off, its important to know that everyone will have different blood sugar goals. Your provider should let you know what numbers you need to aim for. Your goal range will depend on multiple factors, including your health and age, the medications you take, and how far your diabetes has progressed.
Second, your numbers will change depending on what and when you eat. Your numbers will rise after eating and will gradually go down after you finish eating. The American Diabetes Association recommends that most people have a blood sugar reading of 80 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL before a meal, and less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours after a meal. But this is also one of the reasons why most providers use a hemoglobin A1C test on top of your at-home blood glucose tests. A1C is a measure of your average blood glucose over the past 2 to 3 months.
What Do I Do With The Results
You need to keep track of your results. There are a few ways you can do this. You can write them down in a record book. Use a small notebook or ask your doctor for a blood testing record book. Depending on the type of monitor you have, you may be able to keep track of the results on your computer or smartphone. Whatever method you use, you may also want to keep track of what you have eaten, when you took medicine or insulin, and how active youve been during the day. This will help you see how these things affect your blood sugar. Talk with your doctor about what is a good range for your blood sugar level and what to do if your blood sugar is not within that range.
Signs Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Diabetes
The signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly, especially in children, over a period of weeks. In babies and young children, the first indication of Type 1 diabetes may be a yeast infection that causes a severe diaper rash that’s far worse than the common red, puffy and tender skin rash. In young children and infants, lethargy, dehydration and abdominal pain also may indicate Type 1 diabetes.
Once the symptoms appear, a blood test generally will reveal very high blood glucose.
Type 2 diabetes can be detected easily during a routine screening exam and blood test. However, it frequently can go undiagnosed for years unless a physician draws a blood sample to check the blood glucose.
In the early stages of Type 2 diabetes, you experience few to no noticeable signs of the disease. As time goes by and the untreated blood glucose continues to rise, symptoms begin.
If you’re over 40 or have parents or siblings with diabetes, be sure to have your blood glucose checked routinely.
The most common symptoms of undiagnosed Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are:
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When To Seek Medical Care
Diagnosed With Diabetes What Next
Being told you have diabetes or prediabetes will probably come as a shock. Being diagnosed with a long-term condition feels different for everyone. You might not know how to cope or what to do next. But if you get the right treatment and support, you can manage it and live well with diabetes.
Its usually quite difficult to take everything in and remember it. So think about asking a family member or friend to go along with you to meet your healthcare team and make a note of any questions you might have.
Often, your GP will start speaking to you about treatment and the steps you can take to start managing diabetes effectively. Theyll probably want to discuss your lifestyle habits, including what you eat and what exercise you do. Its important to consider whether you smoke and the amount of alcohol you drink as well. Knowing all this vital information can help them identify what steps need to be taken by you to live with diabetes safely.
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If You’re Diagnosed With Diabetes
What the GP will discuss with you during your appointment depends on the diagnosis and the treatment they recommend.
Generally, they’ll talk to you about:
- what diabetes is
- what high blood sugar means for your health
- whether you need to take medicine
- your diet and exercise
- your lifestyle for example, alcohol and smoking
How To Do A Finger
Your healthcare team will show you how to do it the first time, but these are the key steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dont use wet wipes as the glycerine in them can affect the test result. Make sure your hands are warm so its easier to get blood and wont hurt as much.
- Take a test strip and slot it into the meter to turn it on. Some meters will have tests strips built in.
- Remove the cap from your finger prick device and put in a new lancet. Then put the cap back on and set the device by pulling or clicking the plunger.
- Choose which finger to prick but avoid your thumb or index finger . And dont prick the middle, or too close to a nail. Place the device against the side of your finger and press the plunger. Use a different finger each time and a different area.
- Take your meter with the test strip and hold it against the drop of blood. Itll tell you if the test strip is filled, usually by beeping.
- Before you look at your reading, check your finger. Use a tissue to stop bleeding, then use it to take out the lancet and throw it away in your sharps bin.
- You can use the same tissue to take out the test strip and throw that away too. Taking out the strip will usually turn the meter off.
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About 40% Who Have The Disease Don’t Know It
Are you urinating more often, feeling very thirsty, hungry, or tired? Maybe youre losing weight. You may have type 2 diabetes. To find out, you can make an appointment with your doctor and have your blood tested for the condition. Or you can go to the drug store, buy a blood glucose meter, and give yourself a diabetes test.
An estimated 40 percent of adults with type 2 diabetes dont know they have it, which means they arent getting treatment that could protect them from very serious health problems down the road, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney failure. The best option is to go to a doctor if youre having symptoms of diabetes. But if youre reluctant to do that, for whatever reason, the next best thing is to buy an over-the-counter diabetes test kit.
“If you have a family history of diabetes, are obese, or have high blood pressure, you should test yourself for diabetes, if your doctor hasnt already done so,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser. “By being a proactive person, you might save yourself a lot of grief in the future.
After you place the droplet of blood onto the test strip and insert it into the meter, youll see the results in just a few seconds. Youll need to repeat this process at least once more to make sure your reading is accurate. Heres what the numbers mean:
Other Warning Signs Of Type 2
You may not notice sudden symptoms of type 2 diabetes, but the warning signs listed above may alert you to an underlying condition. You may be diagnosed with diabetes because you go to the doctor for:
- persistent infections or a slow-healing wound
- complications that are associated with prolonged high blood sugar levels, such as numbness or tingling in your feet
- heart problems
You may never experience obvious warning signs at all. Diabetes can develop over the course of many years and the warning signs may be subtle.
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How To Use Blood Glucose Testing Results
It’s not unusual for your blood glucose results to be out of range now and then. But if you see a pattern of highs or lows outside your target range, you may want to ask yourself:
- Did I eat at an unusual time, have a larger or smaller portion, or try a new food?
- Did I have more or less physical activity than usual?
- Did I forget to take my medication, take it at the wrong time, take too little or too much?
- Am I taking a new medication?
- Am I stressed about something?
- Do I have an infection or an illness?
- Did I drink alcohol?
Any of these can have an impact on your blood glucose numbers. If you’re making changes to your lifestyle, or if you can’t figure out why you’ve been out of range, talk to your doctor, nurse or diabetes educator.
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1American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes2016 Abridged for primary care providers . Diabetes Care. 2016 34: 3-21. Available at: . Accessed April 26, 2019.
2Polonsky WH, et al. Structured self-monitoring of blood glucose significantly reduces A1C levels in poorly controlled, noninsulin-treated type 2 diabetes: results from the Structured Testing Program study. Diabetes Care. 2011 34:262-267. Accessed April 26, 2019.
4Talk with your healthcare professional before deciding if alternate site testing is right for you.
Ways To Test Your Blood Sugar
Traditional home glucose monitoring
You prick your finger with a small, sharp needle called a lancet, put a drop of blood on a test strip, and then place the strip into a meter that displays your blood sugar levels. Record the test results so you can share them with your doctor. Based on your results, the two of you may adjust your diet, exercise, or medication.
Meters vary in features, portability, speed, size, cost, and readability . Devices deliver results in less than 15 seconds and store this information for future use.
Some meters also calculate an average blood sugar level over a span of time. Some also feature software kits that take information from the meter and display graphs and charts of your past test results. Blood sugar meters and strips are available at your local pharmacy.
Meters that test other parts of your body
Some devices let you test your upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and thigh.
These results may differ from the blood sugar levels gotten from a fingertip stick. Levels in the fingertips show changes more quickly. This is especially true when your sugar is changing fast, like after a meal or after exercise.
If you have symptoms of low blood sugar, donât rely on test results from other parts of your body.
Continuous glucose monitoring system
You’ll still need to check your levels throughout the day continuous glucose monitoring doesn’t replace that. It gives your doctor more information about trends that self-checking might not show.
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Early Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes
1. Frequent urination
When your blood sugar is high, your kidneys expel the excess blood sugar, causing you to urinate more frequently. One of the early warning signs of diabetes is frequent urination that is urgent enough to wake you up to go to the bathroom during sleep.
2. Increased thirst
While your kidneys are working overtime and youre urinating more frequently, valuable fluids will be pulled from your tissues. Frequent urination will make you feel constantly thirsty.
When your blood sugar is high, your body works hard to get rid of the excess sugar. Not only does this process take a toll on your body, but it also alters the way that your body uses glucose for energy. Excessively high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, has fatiguing effects among other symptoms. Additionally, the dehydration that accompanies more frequent urination is a common cause of fatigue in diabetics.
4. Blurred vision
High blood sugar can cause damage to the small blood vessels of the eye, resulting in a swollen lens that can cause blurred vision. As blood sugar levels rise and lower, your vision may return to normal or worsen, respectively.
5. Increased hunger
When you have high blood sugar, your body is actively looking to get rid of it. Because your body expels so much of the glucose you’re getting from your food, you may have increased feelings of hunger.
6. Unexplained weight loss
7. Slow healing cuts and wounds
8. Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
9. Skin discoloration
More Than 1 In 3 American Adults Have Prediabetes Many Don’t Even Know They Have The Condition Take This Short Prediabetes Test To Determine If You Have Or Are At Risk Of Developing Prediabetes
This 3-minute, self-assessment for prediabetes will help you determine the likelihood that you have the condition or are at risk of developing it. If after taking the test you find that you may have prediabetes or are at high risk, contact your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Additional testing may be needed and your health care provider will educate you on the lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are abnormally high, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. People diagnosed with prediabetes will likely go on to develop type 2 diabetes if they don’t make some lifestyle changes. Eating a diet that enables the control of blood sugar levels, exercising regularly, and losing weight are all examples of adjustments that can contribute to lowering your risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as helping you to live a longer and healthier life.
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Other Warning Signs Of Type 1
Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children and young adults, though it can occur at any age. A child may experience these additional symptoms:
- sudden, unintentional weight loss
- wetting the bed after a history of being dry at night
- a yeast infection in a prepubescent girl
- flu-like symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, breath that smells like fruit, problems breathing, and loss of consciousness
Flu-like symptoms are caused when undiagnosed diabetes causes ketones to build up in the bloodstream. This condition is called diabetic ketoacidosis . DKA is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical treatment.
What If I Cant Get A Drop Of Blood For A Fingerstick
If you want to get blood from your fingertip, try washing your hands in hot water to get the blood flowing. Then dangle your hand below your heart for a minute. Prick your finger quickly and then put your hand back down below your heart. You might also try slowly squeezing the finger from the base to the tip.
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Might I Have Diabetes And Not Realise
With type 1 diabetes, the body stops producing insulin, meaning the effect on the body is usually rapid and noticeable. However, type 2 diabetes develops slowly – the body still produces insulin, but it may be insufficient, or the body might not respond to it properly. This means that the development of symptoms is gradual. “Symptoms for type 1 diabetes often develop very fast,” explains Macciochi. “But with type 2 diabetes you may not even know you have it, as symptoms can be very subtle.”
Why Do I Need To Know My Blood Sugar Numbers
Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss.
As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change.
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