Monitoring Your Diabetes

Why do I have to monitor my blood sugar?

Monitoring your blood sugar is the best way to find out how well your diabetes is being controlled, and gives you information on how to manage your diabetes on a daily basis. If your blood sugar is too low or too high, your healthcare provider might want to adjust your diet, exercise schedule, or the amount of medicine you are taking.

Many things, such as food, physical activity, medication and stress, can affect your blood sugar. The following can raise it:

  • Eating too much
  • Not taking your diabetes medication
  • Illness, surgery, or stress
  • Not staying active

These things can lower your blood sugar:

  • Missing meals, or just not eating very much
  • Taking too much diabetes medication
  • Drinking alcohol without eating
  • Too much activity

What should my blood sugar goals be?

Blood sugar goals may be different for each person, and can change throughout the day. The American Diabetes Association recommends these blood sugar goals:

  • Before meals: 80 to 130 mg/dL
  • Two hours after the start of a meal: less than 180 mg/dL
  • Before bedtime: 100-150 mg/dL. If the level is less than 100 mg/dL, have a snack.

What are the symptoms of low blood sugar?

Most people have symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) when their blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dL. When your blood sugar is low, your body gives out signs that you need food. Common early symptoms of low blood sugar include the following:

  • Feeling weak
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling hungry
  • Trembling and feeling shaky
  • Sweating
  • Pounding heart
  • Pale skin
  • Feeling frightened or anxious

Late symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Feeling confused
  • Headache
  • Feeling cranky
  • Poor coordination
  • Bad dreams or nightmares
  • Being unable keep your mind on one subject
  • Numbness in your mouth and tongue
  • Passing out

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