Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.

Blood sugar monitoring is the only sure way to know at any given time what your body's blood sugar levels are. So why is it that so many of us skip testing or choose not to test our blood sugar as often as we ought to?

For one thing, your doctor may not have recommended that you test multiple times a day—but he or she probably should have. A trial consisting of intensive structured self-monitoring of blood sugar showed that those who stuck to this regimen had lower A1c levels after 12 months than those who did not.

For those living with type 1 diabetes, blood sugar testing is essential in order to know how much insulin to give and how to best manage diabetes. But for those with type 2 diabetes, blood sugar monitoring can be more of a gray area of treatment. Many doctors will recommend that type 2s test their blood sugar, but their medications generally do not change based on the results, unless they are type 2 and using insulin as a form of treatment.

Motivated monitoring

So, it can be hard to be motivated to monitor regularly to make sure that your blood sugar levels are staying within a healthy range. However, even if there may not be any immediate medication changes, you can use your monitoring results to guide you in other things that you can do to stabilize your blood sugar, such as exercise and diet modifications.

If your doctor hasn’t recommended multiple blood sugar tests every day, bring it up at your next appointment. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should be testing as frequently as you feel necessary to keep your blood sugar levels within range.

Also, know that you don’t have to wait for your doctor to tell you to test more often. You can start testing your blood sugar more frequently as you see fit. After all, it is your health and you are the best person to take charge of it.