You may think this is a silly question, but often people check their blood glucose without giving it much thought. It might become part of your morning ritual, just like getting dressed or brushing your teeth. But is this helping you to manage your diabetes? Does it help you make decisions about how to proceed throughout the day? Does it influence the decisions you make about food and exercise? It’s possible that you could be getting more from your testing.
In my practice, I have always challenged patients to test blood glucose levels at times that will give them meaningful information instead of just testing at the most convenient time. For example, instead of testing before leaving home for your favorite restaurant, test two hours after starting to eat that meal. Of course, it takes more effort to test at that time, but it can really open your eyes to how that meal affected you and what you might need to do next time you go out.
With that in mind, recently there was a research study that looked at more structured testing and what impact it could have on reducing A1C levels. People were instructed to test their blood glucose levels 7 times per day for 3 days the week before their appointments with their doctors. (Yes, that is 21 times in 3 days!) They tested before and after each meal and before going to bed. The result was quite impressive. Their doctors suggested regimen changes more often (they knew what to do based on the data provided), participants made more changes in their daily exercise and food choices, and A1C levels dropped remarkably during the year of the study. This focused, structured testing was much more helpful to all involved over the more usual testing–such as testing before breakfast every day.
Read more about this type of testing on the links below. Your diabetes educator can help you get started and provide you with a form for recording the data. Take the information to your doctor at your next office visit. Hopefully, it will be a trigger for some great discussion and will help you to fine tune your A1C.