December 2016

How Much Sugar is in my Blood?

It is important to measure your blood sugar at least once daily.

Finger Stick at Least Once Daily Goals for Many Adults with Diabetes*
Before you eat (fasting) 70-130 mg/dL
1-2 hours after the start of a meal less than 180 mg/dL
Blood Test a few Times per Year Goals for Many Adults with Diabetes*
hemoglobin (Hb) A1C less than 7.0%


*Your individual goals may differ, so speak to your doctor about your specific goals.  Always get a blood test done from your clinician.

Adapted from the American Diabetes Association.

How to Use a Glucometer

Select your glucometer and test strips.

Many insurance companies will pay for your meter and test strips if you obtain a prescription from your doctor.

Read the directions that come with your glucometer.

Learn where to insert your test strip and where the readout will be.

Test your glucometer before using it.

Most glucometers include a way to test to make sure they are reading correctly.

Wash your hands.
Place a test strip into the slot on your glucometer.
Swab the area you will be testing with an alcohol wipe.

Alcohol evaporates rapidly so there’s no need to dry the area. That could contaminate the area.

Blood Sample Size

Small samples = less pain. Meters that allow testing in various locations usually require smaller samples.

Wait for the read-out on your glucometer to indicate (in words or symbols) it is ready for a drop of blood on the test strip.
Use the lancet provided in your glucometer to prick the area for testing.
Place a drop of blood on the test strip.

Newer strips offer a “wicking” action that will draw the blood up into the test strip. Older meters and strips require you to actually drop blood onto the strip.

Wait for and record your results.

Make sure you note the day, time and type of reading. For example, a fasting reading is before a meal versus postprandial reading is taken after a meal.

Blood Sugar Ups and Downs

Increases Blood Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Sugar free foods – can contain carbs from starches and sugar alcohol that lift levels.
  • Fast foods – high-fat and high-carbs keep blood sugars up for longer periods.
  • The common cold - Your blood sugar rises as your body works to fight off an illness.
  • Stress - When you're under stress, your body releases hormones that can make your blood sugar rise.
  • Sports drinks – can contain a lot of sugar.
  • Medicines – Some decongestants can raise blood sugar. Cold medicines also sometimes have a little sugar or alcohol in them, so look for products that skip those ingredients.
Decreases Blood Sugar
  • Household chores - Many of the chores you do every week count as moderate physical activity, with plenty of health perks like lowering blood sugar.
  • Yogurt - Foods that have healthy bacteria, such as many types of yogurt, are called probiotic. They can improve digestion and may help you control your blood sugar.
  • Vegan diet - A boost in fiber from whole grains and beans might play a role, by slowing down the digestion of carbs.
  • Exercise - Intense or endurance-type exercise can make your level drop for at least 24 hours afterward. A snack before you begin may help. Check your blood sugar before, during, and after you exercise.