“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
Robert Collier
Why is it important to check my blood sugar?

Checking your blood sugar is very important for informing yourself and your doctor of the effects of your food, meds, and activities on your blood sugar. Regular blood sugar testing can also alert you when your blood sugars are dangerously high or low.

How often should I check my blood sugar?

Knowing your blood sugar results can inform you of what actions you and your doctor could take to help you reach your blood sugar targets. Your doctor may have different recommendations on how often to test your blood sugars depending on your medications and diabetes control.

Guidelines from ADA

  • The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the most frequent checking of blood sugars in people who are on intensive (basal plus bolus) insulin regimens: prior to meals and snacks; at bedtime; prior to exercise; occasional after-meal checks; when patients suspect low blood sugars, after treating low blood sugar until it returns to normal; and prior to important tasks such as driving.
  • For people on basal insulin, the ADA recommends testing fasting blood sugar to inform insulin dose changes.
  • For people on pills, the ADA does not have a specific recommendation of how often to check. (Diabetes Care. January 2018 (Suppl.1): pp. 55-56).

Dr. B’s perspective

I tell my patients to check one more time than the number of insulin shots per day. This would include checking some blood sugars before or after meals in addition to bedtime every day. For my patients on basal insulin, I suggest checking at least twice a day, generally at breakfast and bedtime. For my patients on pills, I suggest checking once a day. Paired readings (for example, before and after a meal or before and after exercise) are very valuable to your doctor.

Here is a simple table:

Med Regimen ADA Dr. B
Basal and bolus insulin Before meals and bedtime About 5 times a day
On basal insulin only Fasting sugar Fasting and bedtime, times can vary
Not on insulin No specific recommendation About once a day, times can vary

Here is an example of how you may record your BG readings, and what paired readings before and after breakfast may look like over 3 days:

Times* Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
BB 135 126 114
AB 157 161 152
Before exercise
After exercise

* BB=Before breakfast; AB=After breakfast; BL=Before lunch; AL=After lunch; BD=Before dinner; AD=After dinner

You can help make the best use of healthcare provider visits by following 3 important tips:

  1. Provide 7 readings/day (before/after meals and at bedtime) for the 3 days BEFORE your office visit
  2. Check BGs in the frequency your provider advised for the 2 weeks BEFORE your office visit
  3. Record all results and take this record to all office visits. Your Visit Optimizer from MyDiabetesHome includes all of your logged sugars from the past 14 days.

My Diabetes Home makes it easy for you to record and upload your blood sugars!

DISCLAIMER statement  “This is for educational purposes only and not intended as medical advice. For individual medical advice, contact your healthcare practitioner.”