How often should you test your sugar levels?

By RicardoOrtiz Latest Reply 2010-04-15 17:55:14 -0500
Started 2010-03-29 18:50:38 -0500

I'm getting contradictory information from Doctor and "diabetes educator". Doctor recommends 7 times a day (once before and after each meal and once in the middle of the night); diabetes educator (part of J&J OneTouch program) recommended at least 5 times a day. People that I know have diabetes tell me between 3-4 times a day. Any ideas on the subject? Thought of the topic after reading that not everyone changes lancets after every use, going against what my Doctor and D.E. recommended…

14 replies

Cheryl*G 2010-04-15 17:55:14 -0500 Report

I'm new to diabetes. Well I have family who are diabetics but I was diagnosed in Feb. of this year. My doctor has me testing 6 times a day. When I get up and then 2 and 3 hour readings after each meal.

Richard157 2010-04-14 19:22:03 -0500 Report

I used to test the 7 times like you, but there were more. My meals are at 8 AM, Noon and 6 PM. I also have snacks at 3 PM and 9 PM. I needed to test before those snacks. I used to have very bad hypos befor using carb counting and getting better control. My wife does not sleep well at night unless I test at 1 AM, 3 AM and 6 AM. I did that for her, I was used to it and it did not bother my sleep. That added up tp 11 tests per day for me. My doctor allowed 10 so my health insurance covered 10. I also tested every time before driving my car. If I am away from home for more than an hour I tested again before starting home. There were days I tested as many as 14 times. So 11-14 times per day.

Now fast forward to January 2010. I started usin the Dexcom CGMS. In early Feb I had good agreement between my meter and the Dexcom. I found an online Dexcom users group that gave me the hints I needed. I started depending on my Dexcom instead of so many fingersticks. I still need a fingerstick when I am going to use insulin. he Dexcom can be as much as 10 points above or below my meters at times, so it is important to use a meter when I need imsulin. With 3 meals and 2 snacks I need 5 fingersticks. I also use my meter at 3 AM to keep my wife happy. So I have gone from using my meter 11-14 times, to only 6 times per day.

Mike Ratrie
Mike Ratrie 2010-04-11 19:47:19 -0500 Report

T1s need to test more frequently because the body is not producing any insulin. Remember that the basic idea is to match the insulin with the glucose that enters your bloodstream. There are a large number of factors that will influence whether or not the insulin arrives at the same time as the glucose.

As a result of not producing insulin, you need to test before each meal so you can know how many units to bolus for both the carbs you are about to eat, plus any correction if you are high. More importantly, if you are low, you will want to bolus less or delay your bolus a bit.

You then need to test 2 - 3 hours AFTER each meal to see how your body has reacted to the meal and the insulin.

Testing at night is also very critical especially at the beginning (I still test @ 3AM after over a decade on the insulin pump).

So real quickly you can see how that gets to 7X/day.

Complications occur "ONLY" if you are not controlled; testing helps get in control; in control gives you a life like anyone else.

Fair Winds,

azrollin 2010-04-10 04:49:30 -0500 Report

I used to test twice a day for 6 months after I was diagnosed with type 2, and then once a day for the next 3 months and when my doc saw my A1C results, he told me to test once a week 2 to 3 hours after dinner. I usually make sure that my BG is around 115-120 before going to bed. I think we all get a sense of our BG depending on what and how we feel.

lavern 2010-04-08 13:55:06 -0500 Report

you check you blood sugar two hours after you eat and when you wake up in the morning you test before you drink or eat and your restuing time at night and when you wake in the morning and trhat should be 104 resting time at night but it goes up after you eat but everybody is different so you keep that blood sugar in a certain range ask your educator and your doctor to get it right. god bless you and I hope you straighten it out for you.

lavern 2010-04-08 14:01:38 -0500 Report

I forgot to say I take pills two times a day one in the morning and one at bedtime, so it's a difference between insulin and if we eat right and take our meds. and excerise and eat properly and lose the weight if we're overweight we can beat this diease. but we have to do these thingt daily. okay and we'll be alright and just eat in portions several times a day and drink plenty of water to keep from getting dehydrated and mess with other parts of our bodies such as eyes, kidneys so on and so fourth.

Markus 2010-03-30 09:33:48 -0500 Report

I guess it depends on how good your control of your levels is. My doctor recommends 6 times a day, before each meal and about 2 hours after each meal. Since I started on insulin I've needed to check more often. I used to only check 3 to 4 times each day. I don't know if this helps.

GabbyPA 2010-03-30 08:32:06 -0500 Report

After my diabetes education class, I did mine in the middle of the night to see what my body was doing. I have dawn phenomenon and I was trying to find when my levels start to rise in the early morning so I could combat it. I think the main contradiction may come from some people being type 2. We are not always dependent on insulin which is dependent on your carb counts and your BG levels. Testing is important to us all, but in Type 1, it is also a very important tool in your treatment.

I would follow your doctors recommendations as it is based on what he has prescribed for you in your treatment. When you are new to it, getting as much information as you can is important. You will discover patterns and how foods control your levels. As you become familiar with these, you can talk to him about changing it. But, every now and then, you want to refresh your testing because as our bodies change, so do our patterns. This is true for any diabetic.

As for the lancets. Sometimes we know what we should do and then justify our laziness. It only takes a moment to change your lancet, and doing it every test is the ideal thing. Will you get major infections if you don't change it? That depends on your health and in some ways the condition of your fingers. If you have dry or cracky finger tips, I would change it every test. It feels better if you change it, as your needle is always sharp. Do I change mine at every test? No...but I do change it daily.

joni55 2010-03-30 09:27:46 -0500 Report

My problem is that my company says that my insurance company will only give me 100 test strips for a 60 day supply. I would like to test more often but am afraid of running out of strips. (It happened a couple of months ago. I couldn't test for a week.) I asked the company if there was any way to change this but they said no. I am going to ask my doctor to see if there is anything that he can do.

kdroberts 2010-03-30 07:36:36 -0500 Report

It depends on your treatment and goals. I would go with your doctor because that gives you a lot of useful and potentially actionable information. You will be able to know how how to dose your insulin based on what you eat and your blood sugar and then you will be able to see if you calculated it right and if you need to make adjustments. I test about 10 times, before and after each time I eat and before I go to bed. I would test in the night but I don't want to wake up and when I do I'm not with it enough to remember or I'm taking care of a crying kid!

I don't change lancets or needles very often. People have very strong opinions either way, some say you are opening yourself up to infections but I think that compared to things that you do every day the risk is very, very small and I've not seen any scientific evidence that shows you are at an increased risk of infection by not changing them. If you question your doctor and educator you will probably find that although they recommend a new one each time they will say that reusing them is fine. Just don't use alcohol wipes.

Oneless 2010-03-29 19:28:20 -0500 Report

I'm John I test mine 4 times a day but i also check if i'm not feeling well to make sure its ok i hope this helps you

yours truly,


Harlen 2010-03-29 19:07:28 -0500 Report

I test 6 times a day to know what my BS is and to keep in inline
the only time I test more is if I feel bad then I will test so I know if I am hight or low
I hope this helps
Best wishes

leogirl 2010-04-02 11:05:36 -0500 Report

I have question,does having allergies and a stuffy nose affect your BS? im new to this,and i was pretty happy with my numbers a few days ago,now they are up by about 20.You all are wonderful,i have been on verge of panic attacks since dx for type 2,and this site always makes me feel better. Thank you. K.

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