Blood Glucose Monitoring: What's the Right Number?

Plus, How to Choose a Blood Glucose Monitor

Controlling your blood glucose levels and keeping them in your goal range is very important when you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Your diabetes treatment team will work with you to help you achieve your blood glucose goals, and consistent blood glucose monitoring is one of your best tools in meeting your goals.

Blood Glucose Numbers: What the Experts Recommend 

Your doctor or certified diabetes educator (CDE) will explain your goal numbers, but there are generally accepted guidelines from two organizations. 

blood glucose

The American Diabetes Association's guidelines for ideal A1C (which is a measurement of the last 3 months of blood sugar readings, averaged out) is <7 %.

The ADA also recommends pre-meal BGs of <130 mg/dl and peak post-meal BGs <180 mg/dl.

Meanwhile, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists' (AACE) guidelines differ slightly. The AACE suggests an A1C <6.5%; a pre-meal <110 mg/dl and a 2-hr post meal of <140 mg/dl. 

A blood glucose reading taken before meals is called the preprandial reading; after meals, it’s the postprandial reading.

You should keep in mind it may take time to obtain these levels—and that some days, you may have better readings than on other days.  Keeping track of your blood glucose numbers and monitoring your levels consistently will help you meet your blood glucose goals.

Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices 

It's important to note that one blood glucose meter does not suit all people with diabetes. You have to prioritize which features are most important—keeping in mind that you’ll be using this every day, several times a day as you monitor your blood glucose levels.

There are essentially two kinds of meters: continuous blood glucose monitoring devices and the handheld devices.

For the most part, insurance coverage is limited on the continuous glucose monitors, and they are quite expensive. This is certainly something for you to keep in mind when trying to choose a blood glucose monitoring device; make sure you understand what your insurance will cover.

As for handheld blood glucose meters, almost all of them on the market today have bowed to consumer demands for a smaller quantity of blood extracted for the testing. The only difference between the brand names and generic devices are the bells and whistles, so to speak.

Do plenty of research on the different types of blood glucose meters so that you understand the differences and what is important to you.

Checking your blood glucose levels multiple times a day when you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes will help you control your condition.  Make sure you know your goal blood glucose levels, and get the best blood glucose monitor for your needs.

Updated on: July 10, 2015
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