How often should you test your blood sugar at home? What is the best time to check blood sugar?

Some doctors recommend blood sugar testing as few as four times a week; others advise doing it as often as four times a day (or more!). June usually does hers twice a day before breakfast and when she gets home from work in the late afternoon. She also does it when she's confused about what her blood sugar is because she's having trouble reading her body signals. This can be pretty often when she's under pressure or on a trip or doing an extra lot of exercising or is otherwise out of her regular routines. Many diabetics like to test two hours after eating to see how they handled the meal.

Richard K. Bernstein, who advocates very tight control for juvenile diabetics, has evolved a system called "Glucograf." In this system, diabetics test as frequently as six times a day in order to keep their blood sugar normal 90 percent of the time and thereby avoid the complications long term juvenile diabetics can be susceptible to.

Do you ever need to go to the doctor for tests if you do them yourself at home? 

Yes, you should go about every three months for a glycohemoglobin test (hemoglobin Alc ). This is a new test that reveals the amount of glucose clinging to individual cells. It tells you how your overall control has been over a 100-day period. The glycohemoglobin test is a great improvement over going to the doctor for a simple blood sugar test because it doesn't really allow you to fool yourself or your doctor. We are all only human and we want the doctor to think well of us. We want to be patted on the back for being the well-behaved patients we should be. Consequently, we tend to be much more meticulous about diabetes care immediately before visiting the doctor for a blood sugar. The hemoglobin Alc reveals whether you've been taking care of your diabetes all the time, rather than just the two or three hours prior to your visit to the doctor.


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