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Managing your blood sugar

Hyperglycemia - control; Hypoglycemia - control; Diabetes - blood sugar control; Blood glucose - managing

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Manage your blood sugar
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When you have diabetes, you should have good control of your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is not controlled, serious health problems called complications can happen to your body. Learn how to manage your blood sugar so that you can stay as healthy as possible.

Take Control of Your Diabetes

Know the basic steps for managing your diabetes. Poorly managed diabetes can lead to many health problems.

Know how to:

If you take insulin, you should also know how to:

You should also live a healthy lifestyle.

Take your medicines the way your provider recommends.

Check Your Blood Sugar Often

Checking your blood sugar levels often and writing down, or using an app to track the results will tell you how well you are managing your diabetes. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about how often you should check your blood sugar.

Usually, you will test your blood sugar before meals and at bedtime. You may also check your blood sugar:

Keep a record for yourself and your provider. This will be a big help if you are having problems managing your diabetes. It will also tell you what works and what doesn't work, to keep your blood sugar under control. Write down:

Many glucose meters let you store this information.

You and your provider should set a target goal for your blood sugar levels for different times during the day. If your blood sugar is higher than your goals for 3 days and you don't know why, call your provider.

Random blood sugar values are often not that useful to your provider and this can be frustrating to people with diabetes. Often fewer values with more information (meal description and time, exercise description and time, medication dose and time) related to the blood sugar value are much more useful to help guide medication decisions and dose adjustments.

Recommended Blood Sugar Targets

For people with type 1 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends that blood sugar targets be based on a person's needs and goals. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about these goals. A general guideline is:

Before meals, your blood sugar should be:

After meals (1 to 2 hours after eating), your blood sugar should be:

At bedtime, your blood sugar should be:

For people with type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association also recommends that blood sugar targets be individualized. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about your goals.

In general, before meals, your blood sugar should be:

After meals (1 to 2 hours after eating), your blood sugar should be:

What to do When Your Blood Sugar is High or Low

High blood sugar can harm you. If your blood sugar is high, you need to know how to bring it down. Here are some questions to ask yourself if your blood sugar is high.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if your blood sugar is too high or too low and you do not understand why. When your blood sugar is in your target range, you will feel better and your health will be better.

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References

American Diabetes Association. 6. Glycemic targets: standards of medical care in diabetes-2018. Diabetes Care. 2018;41(Suppl 1):S55-S64. PMID: 29222377 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29222377.

Davis SN, Lamos EM, Younk LM. Hypoglycemia and hypoglycemic syndromes. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 47.

Dungan KM. Management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 48.

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Review Date: 5/17/2018  

Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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