After your diagnosis, one of the first things your doctor will recommend is a blood sugar log. If used correctly, this log will be one of the most important keys to your continued health. To make sure you’re using your log to its potential, first familiarize yourself with its uses and your particular needs.
Why You Need a Blood Sugar Log
Diabetes is a manageable disease — if managed well. A blood sugar log helps patients do just that. When used in conjunction with insulin, a blood sugar test log adds another dimension to your monitoring efforts. It’s a physical account that you can frequently go back to tweak and adjust your habits to suit your needs.
Your blood sugar isn’t just affected by the food you eat. Exercise, medication and other activities also affect blood sugar levels. That’s a lot to keep track of. Putting it in a blood sugar test log makes all the different aspects of your lifestyle much more manageable.
Diabetics who know exactly how their lifestyle and choices affect their blood sugar can make moment to moment decisions concerning their levels. This up to the minute monitoring is the key to diabetes management. By avoiding unnecessary swings in blood sugar levels, you can also avoid or delay diabetes related diseases like eye disease, kidney problems and neuropathy.
Your Normal Blood Sugar Level: How to Monitor It
Everyone’s diabetes is different. Patients should start their diabetes management program by asking their health care providers to recommend a blood sugar range that is suitable for them. Once you have an acceptable range in mind, it’s time to start testing.
Blood sugar must be monitored frequently to prevent and predict highs and lows. Most diabetics must test two to four times daily or the number of times recommended by their doctors. Testing is done with a diabetic testing kit.
In addition to recording blood sugar readings, diabetics should also record their activities. Keep track of the dosage and frequency of the medication you take, the amount and nature of what you eat and drink and any exercise you take. Times are also important for record taking. Get in the habit of watching the clock when you eat, exercise and take your medication.
A normal blood sugar level for most people is between 70 and 140 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). If your blood sugar levels are abnormally high or low or you experience unexplainable high or low blood sugar symptoms, use the comments section of your blood sugar log to record any abnormal activities. Did you eat later than usual? Was your exercise particularly long? Did you forget to take your medication? Comparing abnormal highs and lows will help you eliminate and rectify changes.
The first thing you should write in your blood sugar log is the blood sugar range goal you discussed with your physician. Once you start testing your blood sugar, write down each blood sugar reading and the date and time you took it. Try to test your blood sugar at the same times every day. This consistency will help you more easily notice patterns.
Every three months, take your log to your doctor and have an A1C level test performed. This test monitors how much glucose adheres to your red blood cells which replenish themselves every 3 to 4 months.
By monitoring your average blood glucose levels, your physician will determine and evaluate your blood sugar control for the past four months. Depending on your levels and the information in your log book, your physician may make recommendations or even change your medication.
Once your blood sugar levels are static — with the help of your log, you don’t have to have A1C tests as frequently. Most doctors will recommend visits only twice annually. This is a good sign that you’ve used your resources and your log book to manage your blood sugar to the best of your ability.
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is the key to staying healthy. Diabetics with the best prognosis are those who are active about their control. With the help of a blood sugar log and a physician, you’ll live a longer and healthier life.