Regular glucose monitoring is an important part of controlling diabetes. Learn how to make blood sugar testing a routine part of every day, no matter how hectic your schedule.
By Dennis Thompson Jr.
Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
People with type 2 diabetes have ready access to the best equipment ever made for home blood sugar testing. In fact, performing your own blood sugar reading has become a cornerstone of diabetes management. Blood sugar testing helps you maintain safe blood glucose levels and avoid the systemic damage that comes from uncontrolled diabetes. The key is to make testing as easy as possible so that you’ll do it and feel like you’re in control, rather than feeling as though your diabetes is controlling you.
Why Blood Sugar Testing Is Important
Although you might think of blood sugar testing as a nuisance, its importance cannot be overstated. Obtaining regular blood sugar readings gives you a basic understanding of how diabetes is affecting your body and how you can best control it.
Using a blood sugar, or blood glucose, monitor daily — or several times a day as needed — can help you:
Understand how different foods affect your blood glucose levels
Make better choices regarding the type of insulin you use and the dosage you require
Predict how exercise or stress will affect your blood sugar
Prevent low blood sugar at night
Precisely control your blood glucose to prevent diabetes complications
If you don't perform blood sugar testing on a regular basis, you're flying blind in your diabetes treatment. You will have to rely on physical symptoms to tell you when your blood sugar levels are too high or too low and, as a result, you will not be aware as soon as you could be that elevated blood sugars are causing damage to your body.
Blood Sugar Testing Burnout
Self-testing for blood glucose levels has been made easier as glucose monitoring device technology has improved. Of course, regular testing still requires a lot of effort on your part, and it may feel overwhelming at times. You have to:
Take time out of your busy day
Remember when you need to test
Stick yourself repeatedly with lancets
Respond to the test with medicine or food
This can lead to diabetes burnout, a situation in which those with type 2 diabetes decide that controlling the disease is just too much effort. Signs of burnout include feeling out of control and powerless, losing interest in activities you usually enjoy, or being just plain unhappy.
Strategies for Better Blood Sugar Testing
You can cope with the demands placed on you by your type 2 diabetes. To help fit regular blood sugar testing into your daily life, try these ideas:
Set realistic goals. It's good to be proactive about getting frequent blood sugar readings, but set a schedule that is realistic. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a reading. The key is to stay motivated, while also acknowledging that no one's perfect
Find reminders for testing. Memory aids can help you remember your blood sugar testing. Link the test to things you do at the same time every day, such as eating meals or brushing your teeth. You also can create rituals around your blood sugar tests by doing certain things in a set order every time. Or use a timer to remind you when your next test is due. You can even create a daily chart and check off boxes as you do each one.
Identify barriers to regular testing. If you find that keeping a set schedule is the best way to perform regular blood sugar testing, avoid situations that disrupt your schedule. For example, if you need to test following meals, be sure that you eat at about the same time every day.
Ask for help. Those around you may not understand the importance of testing your blood glucose at specific times or after specific events like eating or exercise. Explain it to them and ask for their help remembering to perform the tests.
Always keep in mind why you test: Tightly controlling your blood sugar allows you to protect your long-term health and get the most out of life. When your resolve falters, remembering this one fact can help you get back on track.
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