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The Importance of Glucose Monitoring: Keeping Track of Your Blood Sugar Levels

03 Jul 2024

Blood sugar – that’s all you’ve been hearing ever since you discovered you have diabetes. But stop a moment, and think. If that’s all you mostly hear, it must be to pay attention to it, isn’t it? It’s the beginning of all that you’re going through and it is also the solution to all you’re going through. And that’s exactly why discuss the art of blood glucose monitoring, what it means to monitor it and how you can do it. All of it, pretty easily and without any stress. 

What is blood glucose?

Each time you eat something, your body gets some energy out of it. But there’s a catch. The sugar from the food you eat has to reach your cells, for your body to be able to use it. Insulin is what helps in breaking down this sugar and taking it from your bloodstream to your cells. For non-diabetic people, this is a normal bodily process. But for people with diabetes, there’s often insufficient insulin in the body or there’s an inability in the body to be able to use the insulin (insulin resistance). Ultimately, the sugar doesn’t get converted to energy and the body ends up with elevated sugar levels. 

Why is it important to monitor your sugar levels?

When you regularly track your blood sugar levels, you understand how much insulin your body needs and when. How much insulin you take and at what time are also major factors in your diabetes management. Frequent fluctuations in your sugar levels can also be quite risky for your body. In case of very high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia) blood sugar, it can get very serious if not treated on time.

Things like the food you consume, the physical activity you do and the way your lifestyle is also affect your glucose levels. For diabetic people, blood glucose monitoring gives an idea of how well their treatment plan works and in case any changes are required. If you use insulin, the result can help in making decisions about food, physical activity and dosing insulin.

However, it’s important to make a note that these things affect different people differently. Although understanding a certain pattern may help you manage your diabetes well, it’s not something that may work out the same way for another diabetic person. Diabetes affects everyone differently. 

Sometimes, it can also work in unpredictable ways that even your healthcare professional may not fully understand. Hence it’s best always to stay prepared and keep track of your levels. Know your body as well as you can and manage diabetes well.

Can I monitor my blood sugar levels by myself?

Yes. Lucky for us, with today’s technology everything is possible. You can monitor your sugar levels at home using two techniques– 1. Glucose meter and finger stick and 2. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). 

You can choose either or both methods depending on reasons like:

  • Your diabetes type
  • How often you’re recommended to check your sugar levels
  • Access to technology
  • Your health

Glucose Meter and Test Strips

Also known as “finger stick check”, using a glucose meter and test strips is a more common method of blood glucose monitoring

How is it done?

  • Use a small needle called a lancet to prick your fingertip and get a blood drop.
  • Keep the blood drop against the test strip in the glucose meter
  • In a few seconds, the meter will display your blood sugar level

Because this glucose testing method only measures your blood sugar one moment at a time, diabetics need to often check their levels using this technique. There are multiple variants available in glucose meters. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider about which one may suit you the best.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)

The CGM method is where you wear a device that monitors your sugar levels all day. The sensor in the device helps in measuring your blood sugar levels. The device also helps form a graph later on that can show a summary of how your blood sugar levels keep changing and at what time.

However, CGM being technology, there’s always a probability of inaccurate results. Hence, it’s not recommended to completely rely on CGMs and disregard finger stick checks. This is important especially when your CGM readings don’t match with your symptoms.

Be sure to check with your healthcare provider in case you decide to opt for CGM as a blood glucose monitoring technique.

Keeping track of your blood sugar levels

In most cases, you will be able to save the results from your glucose meter. You can use an app on your smartphone and track the levels. Alternatively, you can also keep a written version of your sugar levels with the exact date and time. These records can then be brought along during your appointment with your healthcare provider. In case you’re using a CGM device, your records will automatically be saved and your healthcare provider should be able to access it anytime.

There, you have it – a fuss-free guide to monitor your blood sugar levels. It doesn’t matter if you’re a techie or not, measuring your glucose levels is pretty simple and easy to do, as we mentioned at the beginning of this article. Just pick a technique that suits you the best and you’re good to go. Ensure you take help wherever needed and do not panic yourself. It’s all just a matter of a few days until you’ve mastered the art of blood glucose monitoring. Just keep tracking, smiling and tell yourself “I’ve got this!”

About the Author

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Devina Aswal
MBBS, DDM, FCR, CIC

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