If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you ought to be prepared to test blood sugars at home using a suitable glucometer. Checking blood sugars at home also called as self monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is not only a convenience but a necessity . Especially in the initial stages, having a glucometer at home helps the new patient to check blood sugars whenever they are feeling slightly low or down. At the same time, recording blood sugar levels after a hearty meal at a wedding or party can serve as a deterrent to future indulgence.
Benefits of SMBG
SMBG can aid in diabetes control by:
- Individualized blood sugar management program can be created by dietician based on the blood glucose chart (see image).
- Day-to-day planning of meals and physical activity can be facilitated by this chart
- It can help catch early signs of hyper or hypoglycemia
- Empowers patient to understand blood sugar patterns and modify diet and medication (in consultation with physician) accordingly
Insulin treated patients / type 1 diabetics must check blood sugar levels at least 4 times in a day – fasting, before lunch, before dinner and at bedtime. This way they can adjust insulin dose to be taken before the meal. However, recording post meal sugars are also effective in understanding correlations between insulin and meal carbohydrate dose.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes who use insulin should perform SMBG at least four times per week, including at least two fasting and two postprandial values. Additional measurements at bedtime and before meals can also be obtained
Research has shown that frequent blood sugar checks can help improve HbA1c values, especially in type 1 diabetics and overall glycemic control in type 2 diabetes thereby emphasizing the need for performing these tests regularly to prevent long term complications of diabetes.