Monitoring means checking your glucose (sugar) levels, activity and food intake, and gathering data from multiple sources and devices to make decisions about your diabetes prevention efforts or diabetes care and self-management.

Monitoring also involves your overall health, such as blood pressure, weight, cholesterol levels, heart health, sleep, mood, medications, and eye, kidney and foot health.

For people with prediabetes or diabetes there are optimal target ranges to aim for in many areas of management. There are national guidelines to help put everything in perspective.

Your provider and diabetes care and education specialist know that the best results occur when your care is geared to you and your individual needs. Ask them how your numbers compare to what is recommended for your optimal health.

Monitoring devices provide “in the moment” data that helps you determine how well your diabetes management plan is working. Ask your diabetes care and education specialist to help you choose a monitoring device. They will personalize and advise you based on your values and preferences, helping you to compare and contrast the pros and cons of each. Here are some of the ways they can help you:

  • Determine which diabetes management device you can afford and works best for you.
  • Learn how and when to use the device to track your data.
  • Figure out how to find patterns you can act on.
  • Come up with an ongoing plan for monitoring as your health goals are met.

Taking multiple measurements and putting them together to identify patterns is much more meaningful than looking at numbers one at a time. Once you and your diabetes care and education specialist work together to highlight the patterns, you can begin to identify the cause and effect of the patterns and take needed action.

Examples of patterns you might see:

  • Your glucose is higher after dinner on most days.
  • Whenever you eat at bedtime, your glucose tends to be high the next morning.
  • If you take a walk for at least 20 minutes, your glucose goes down to a better level.
  • Your blood pressure is higher in the morning than the evening.

Tracking and organizing data such as food intake, activity, blood pressure, stress levels and glucose can help you see the story the data is telling. There are many easy ways to track data, including paper logs, an app on your smartphone or software program that comes with your device. Focusing on the patterns rather than every single reading also helps to keep your emotions more level.

Reach out to your diabetes care and education specialist to understand how to read the reports for the devices you are using and what patterns to look for. Many of these reports are designed to present useful patterns to the user.

If you’re using a fingerstick meter, wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly before checking. Substances on your skin (like dirt, food or lotion) can cause inaccurate results. If you are wearing a continuous glucose monitor, follow the manufacturer’s information on the best ways to keep it working well for you.

  • The best time to check the effect of your meal on your glucose level is 2 hours after eating.
  • Contact your diabetes care team if you are having glucose readings below 70mg/dl. You may need your medication dose adjusted or need help with problem solving to find the reason.
  • Check your glucose levels more often if you think you’re getting sick and during any illness.
  • Bring your glucose record or download report to every appointment with your care team.
  • When traveling, keep your supplies in the package with the original prescription in your carry-on luggage. If needed, advise security personnel that you are carrying diabetes supplies.

Monitoring helps you know if you are meeting recommended
treatment goals to keep you healthy. When you self-monitor, you get the information you need to make food and activity adjustments and manage your medications so that your body can perform at its best. The numbers you get when you monitor are useful to help your care team match treatment to your needs. You’ll start to recognize patterns that lead to enhanced self-care, giving you a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.

A diabetes care and education specialist can be a great resource to help you choose the right monitoring device, and one you can afford. They will work with you on how to use the device correctly and understand the results. Together, you will collaborate to stay on track and make progress by setting small, measurable goals.

Ask your provider to refer you. You deserve it!

Glucose Monitoring Tips & Tricks

In order to maximize the benefits and minimize the downsides associated with glucose monitoring, Here are some helpful hints from our expert team of diabetes care and education specialists and experienced people with diabetes:

Monitoring without goals is like a ship without a rudder, floating aimlessly. Work with your diabetes care team to make your goals meaningful, measurable and realistic.

They should be related to things you have direct control over – such as when/how often you will check, record and review
your glucose levels.

Logging behaviors and circumstances associated with glucose levels can be helpful in understanding why you may deviate from your usual patterns. It’s fine to use pen and paper for recording this information, but if you prefer a more modern approach, a variety of software programs and smart
phone apps can be used.

Turning data into useful information requires a certain degree of organization. Most brand name blood glucose meters and
CGM systems are downloadable to programs that can generate nice, neat reports. But don’t stop there. Glucose values by themselves may reveal when we are in and out of range, but they don’t reveal why.

There is always a context, or story, behind
each reading. Keeping track of the factors that affect your glucose levels can help you and your health- care team to uncover the true sources of out-of-range readings.

These include:

  • Food intake (carbs in particular).
  • Doses of insulin and other diabetes medications.
  • Physical activities (exercise and daily chores).
  • Emotional stresses.
  • Illnesses.
Once you’ve collected a few weeks’ worth of information, it’s time to take a critical look. Your diabetes care team can help you to evaluate your data at appointments, so bring printed reports to your visits or bring ALL your meters for downloading.

Look at your information on a regular basis as well. Review the glucose values at each phase of the day separately: pre-breakfast, post-breakfast, pre-lunch, etc. If you notice that values are out of your target glucose range, discuss potential solutions with your healthcare team.

Why make glucose monitoring any harder than it has to be? For convenience sake, many people like to have an extra meter (or two) so that they don’t have to carry it to/ from work, kitchen/bedroom, up/down stairs, etc. To obtain an extra meter, ask your diabetes care team for a free sample, or call the number on the back of your meter to request a complimentary backup


  • Choose a meter that requires a very small
    blood sample (0.5 microliters or less, if possible).
  • Use the thinnest lancets possible (33-gauge or
    higher) and change them regularly.
  • Use a lancing device that has an adjustable tip
    and set it for the lowest setting that still
    produces a sufficient blood drop.
  • Prick the sides of the fingers rather than the
    tips and milk the finger after pricking.
  • Use the 3rd (middle), 4th (ring) and 5th (pinky)
    fingers on each hand and rotate your sites.


  • Clean and dry your finger before checking – soap and water are best.
  • Apply a drop to completely fill the test strip.
  • Line up the test strip with your blood drop by holding the meter still on a table and sliding the blood sample slowly towards the strip.
  • Make sure your meter is coded properly (if necessary).
  • Store your strips at room temperature, in their vial and don’t use them past their expiration date. Exposing test strips to air or humidity makes them inaccurate.

What to expect when getting your blood sugar tested

Getting your blood sugar tested may seem scary, but it is a very simple test that tells us important things about your health.

We will use a small machine called a blood glucose meter and collect a small drop of your blood to tell us how much sugar is in your blood.

We Will…

  1. Clean your finger with an alcohol wipe to make sure it is free of germs.
  2. Gently rub your finger to get blood flowing which makes the test easier and quicker.
  3. Use a lancing device and touch it to your fingertip. On the count of three we will press a button and you will feel a small prick. A small drop of blood will appear on your fingertip.
  4. Touch the drop of blood to the glucose meter so it can read your blood sugar.
  5. Wipe away any extra blood and give you a band aid for your finger.


Type 2 diabetes affects millions of individuals and their families, workplaces, and the U.S. health care system.


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