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People who have diabetes need to check blood sugar levels every day. The exact number of times during the day in which a diabetic person needs to check blood sugar levels typically varies depending on how severe her diabetes is and what her doctor recommends for her individual case. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are generally advised to check their sugar levels at least three times a day, although it may be necessary to do so more often if a person is sick or pregnant. Before meals, after meals, and bedtimes are some of the best times of day to test sugar levels.
When a person is initially diagnosed with diabetes, he may be advised to check his blood sugar levels many times throughout the day. This is typically so that he can get a better understanding of what factors affect his blood sugar levels. It takes new diabetics a while to learn which foods and daily activities negatively affect their blood sugar. A person's levels should be closely monitored when he begins any new exercise routine, diet, or medication to see how they will react to the changes. Once a person better understands how different things affect his blood sugar, he may be able to check it less frequently, although he should still monitor it around mealtimes and at bedtime.
A person should always check blood sugar just before meals and roughly two hours after each meal. Waiting two hours after a meal to test the blood sugar should give a person a good idea of how that particular food affects her levels. She can compare what her levels were before she ate the meal and what they rose to after the meal had time to digest to determine how much, if any, of that food is safe to consume. It's also important to check blood sugar at bedtime because the levels at this time can indicate if someone needs to eat more or less food during the day and whether her insulin levels need to be adjusted.
People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes do not typically have to check their blood sugar levels every day. Prediabetes is the condition directly preceding the onset of type 2 diabetes, and it means that a person's blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to indicate diabetes. There is a chance that people who have prediabetes can ward off the onset of type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes. Most doctors advise prediabetic people to improve their diets, begin an exercise routine, and come back in about a year for another blood glucose test to see if they are still prediabetic or if they have developed type 2 diabetes.
@Scrbblchick -- Too right. Meters are cheap. Strips are a racket. I'm telling you -- it's about like dealing with the Mafia to get a decent price on strips.
Most of the time a Type 1 can get about as many strips as they need, especially if they're on an insulin pump. I don't have a problem with that at all, but for a T2, testing three times a day can cost over $100 a month, if you have strips that cost that much for 100.
I have found cheaper strips at Wal-Mart, which just proves it's possible to manufacture strips for a reasonable price. But even at $10 for 50 strips, right now, I'm so broke, I have to test once a day. Like I said -- it's a freaking racket.
In ideal world, where people could get strips for their meters at a low cost, a diabetic would be able to check his or blood sugar level as many times a day as necessary.
Most Type 2 diabetics who maintain a relatively stable glucose level can usually get away with testing once a day, but this is not the best option. If a Type 2 can test three times a day, that's a much better way to help them keep an accurate check on their blood sugar.
However, since strips are so prohibitively expensive, and insurance will only cover a certain number per month, most diabetics are able to check their glucose levels far less often than their doctors would prefer.
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