Glucose Monitoring

Transcript

Maj Hemstad
Blood glucose monitoring is the foundation of diabetes management. Knowing your blood glucose and identifying trends in glucose levels throughout the day can guide decisions about diet, activity, and medications. The most common way to check glucose levels involves pricking the side of the fingertip with an automatic lancing device to obtain a blood sample, and then using a glucose meter to measure the blood sample's glucose level. People with diabetes should discuss with their provider how often their blood glucose needs to be checked. People on certain insulin treatments will typically monitor their glucose levels multiple times a day.

Lt Col Reynolds
People with diabetes and their providers will determine what blood glucose targets they need to try and reach at different times of the day. In general, right before a meal, blood glucose should range between 80 and 130 milligrams per deciliter. Two hours after the start of a meal, blood glucose should be below 180 milligrams per deciliter. These targets will vary between patients, so it’s important to determine an appropriate target with the primary care provider or diabetes specialist.

Maj Hemstad
Continuous glucose monitoring, or CGM, systems are also available. These use a tiny sensor under the skin to check glucose levels in tissue fluid every one to five minutes. The results are transmitted to a wireless monitor. It should be noted, CGM systems are more expensive and require validation with conventional glucose meters.

Lt Col Reynolds
High blood glucose is called hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can make you feel very tired or thirsty, cause blurry vision, or make you feel like you have to urinate more often. If your blood glucose is over 180, drink a large glass of water and go for a brisk walk to bring it back down quickly. Severe hyperglycemia can result in diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening, emergency medical situation.

Maj Hemstad
Low blood glucose is called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can be mild or severe, but it should always be treated immediately. It can make you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry. In severe cases, it can cause falls or seizures. If your blood glucose level drops below 70, chew four glucose tablets, drink some fruit juice or regular soda, or eat four pieces of fruit candy to bring your blood glucose level back up. Repeat every 15 minutes until your blood glucose level returns to your desired range. Emergency glucagon kits can be prescribed for people at especially high risk for hypoglycemia.

Lt Col Reynolds
In addition to monitoring glucose levels daily at home, people with diabetes should get their A1C checked by their provider at least once annually, and up to four times a year if necessary. For many people with diabetes, an A1C below 7 percent is an appropriate target. But others who are at risk of severe hypoglycemia may need a less rigorous target.