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Learning from your blood glucose results

It's likely that your healthcare team has talked to you about the importance of checking your blood sugar. But many people don't realize just how much valuable information they can glean from the results of those checks.

Blood glucose monitoring shows you how your body handles the food you eat, how exercise affects you and how medication is working—as well as letting you know if your body has the fuel it needs throughout the day. It's essential to anyone with diabetes' self-care, and can help you:1

  • Keep your blood sugar within a healthy range
  • Feel better and have more energy
  • Fine-tune your meals, medication or activities
  • Provide helpful information to your healthcare team
  • Reduce your risk of other health problems associated with diabetes

It's good to know that keeping your blood glucose within the target ranges recommended by your healthcare provider can actually make a difference in how well you feel throughout the day.1 If you haven't noticed the connection, consider making notes in your logbook or electronic diary about how you're feeling at various times when you check.

Making sense of high or low blood sugar readings

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.

1Polonsky WH. Diabetes Burnout: What to Do When You Can't Take It Anymore. Alexandria, VA: American Diabetes Association; 1999.