Should you be self testing blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes?
We’ll break down why self testing your own blood glucose levels is a key way to be in charge of your type 2 diabetes and your health.
Why self testing your blood sugars in Type 2 diabetes helps
At The Diabetes Clinic Online, our team is often surprised at the number of people diagnosed with diabetes who don’t self test or haven’t been encouraged to do so by their health practitioners. Others who do test may not be testing at consistent and relevant times to know what the results mean. So wherever you are, here’s why to test your blood sugars the right way.
Self testing done right gives people with blood glucose imbalances real time information about the response your body has had to food eaten, activities and events in your day. With this information you can learn how to lower blood sugar levels and minimise the spikes which cause damage to the thousands of kilometres of blood vessels within the body.
Why blood sugar levels change in type 2 diabetes
In prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels to rise higher and faster and remain high for longer than a person without diabetes. Furthermore, high blood sugars cause high insulin levels and high insulin levels cause blood sugar levels to stay high. It’s a vicious cycle.
The corresponding level of insulin resistance is revealed by seeing how long it takes for blood sugars to decrease again and self testing gives you this data daily. This puts you in the driver’s seat to adjust your diet and lifestyle for better control of your diabetes.
The difference between self testing and an HbA1c test from your doctor
In Type 2 diabetes, the HbA1c or A1c tests measure the ‘stickiness’ of your blood showing the amount of glucose bound to your red blood cells. These results reveal an average blood glucose level over 54 days, whereas your self testing provides immediate, here and now numbers to work with.
The home self testing kits show its results in units known as millimoles per litre (mmol/L), whereas the HbA1c tests performed by pathology show millimoles per mole (mmol/mol). Both of these tests provide valuable information for managing type 2 diabetes.
How self testing your blood sugar levels works
To check blood glucose levels, you will need a blood glucose meter with a lancet device and blood glucose strips. With just a small finger prick, the meter accurately produces a reading on your blood glucose level. These self testing kits can be purchased at any pharmacy for approximately $35-$40, along with demonstrations and instructions from the pharmacy staff, or they can be purchased online.
This self testing process is quick to learn, easy and it shouldn’t ‘hurt’! There is always extra help available to master self testing.
Whilst this process is well tolerated there is technology now available to scan with a sensor on the arm which enables quick testing many times a day, however the investment in this technology is greater.
When to test your blood sugars
When to test your blood sugars and how often may vary depending on your diabetes and medications over the course of managing the disease. However we recommend a period of structured monitoring for all of our members, to gather important baseline information.
When you have these baseline blood glucose numbers you can monitor and track changes, as numbers increase or decrease. Then you can put these numbers into context, alongside dates and other relevant information to give you reliable information guiding your behaviours, diet and management.
Ready to start testing? Get our testing recommendations summary below for when to test and what healthy prediabetes numbers and type 2 diabetes blood sugar levels to aim for. It includes a record sheet to use as a template for your testing results or you may use a digital app for recording your readings.
📩 CLICK HERE TO GET THE SELF TESTING RECOMMENDATIONS AND RECORD SHEET DOWNLOAD
How does food affect your blood sugar test results in diabetes
Let’s consider what is a ‘normal’ non diabetic blood sugar result after a meal. A non-diabetic result usually increases blood glucose levels by approximately 2 mmol/L units after the meal which is considered a normal and healthy response. Testing two hours after a meal shows the peak blood glucose level. In order to know what your increase is, also test just prior to a meal to see the full picture.
If your results are spiking over a 2mmol/L threshold then changes to your food, medications and lifestyle can give you control of diabetes, with self testing guiding your progress. Use our tracking sheet to start making this progress.
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Self testing your blood sugars regularly for a period of time gives you a clear picture of your type 2 diabetes. From here you’ll be empowered to know what is happening within your body with an easy way to monitor and gain feedback. This is one of the simplest ways you can improve your blood sugar readings, gain control of diabetes and recover your health. Start today.
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