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Published on May 01, 2015

Stay on Top of Blood Glucose

May 1, 2015

blood glucose testingA single drop of blood contains vital information about the well being of people with diabetes.

When a person has diabetes, his or her body has trouble creating or properly using insulin—a hormone that helps the body convert glucose or sugar into energy.

Excess glucose can lead to serious medical complications. Thankfully, when effective treatment options are used properly, they help keep blood glucose levels within the target range, allowing people with diabetes to live normal, healthy lives.

Why Test?

“Ideally, a person’s blood sugar levels should stay between 70 and 140mg/dL,” says Sue Clifford, RN, certified diabetes educator with Kishwaukee Hospital. “If that isn’t the case, we can use medications to normalize the numbers, although treatment is not one size fits all.”

Because many factors—including activity level, nutrition, and stress—can affect blood glucose, those numbers need to be checked regularly and treatment adjusted accordingly.

How to Test

Glucose monitors use a single drop of blood and provide rapid results. To test safely, users should wash their hands before checking blood glucose, use a fresh test strip each time, and avoid sharing equipment.

How often a person with diabetes tests his or her blood glucose levels depends on physical condition, current treatment plan, and other factors. A physician or diabetes educator can help create a management plan.

Too Low or Too High?

When blood sugar levels get too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia), the following telltale signs may appear:

Low Blood Sugar

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Blurry vision
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Hunger
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Shakiness

High Blood Sugar

  • Increased urination
  • Weight loss
  • Thirstiness
  • Sleepiness
  • Increased appetite

For more information about living well with diabetes, visit

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