Why is Regular Blood Glucose Testing so Important?

Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is not an easy task to accomplish every day. You may also wonder: can I stop my blood glucose monitoring, since I feel totally fine? Unfortunately, the answer is No! Why?

You do gain a lot of benefits from SMBG. For example, some people don't feel symptoms when their blood glucose is high, and others feel no symptoms when it is low (hypoglycemia unawareness). This can be dangerous since high blood sugars gradually increase wear and tear on your blood vessels, and will slowly cause your organs to lose function and age prematurely.

On the contrary, low blood sugars can be particularly dangerous: your brain, heart, muscles and other organs need glucose for energy. If there isn't enough circulating in the blood, the brain can slow its processing, potentially leading to hypoglycemic coma.

Besides controlling the highs and preventing lows, diabetes patients should keep monitoring blood glucose for a variety of other reasons:

  • To detect hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) and hyperglycemia (high blood glucose)
  • Understand how the foods you eat and their amounts may affect your blood glucose (by getting your before meal and two hours after meal glucose readings, called a paired test)
  • Better understand how exercise influences your blood glucose levels and determine the suitable amount and types of physical activities for you (by doing your glucose checks before and 30 minutes after exercise)
  • Safety check before driving, workout or handling dangerous machinery to decrease the risk of low blood sugar induced accidents
  • Assist your healthcare provider to more quickly identify patterns and appropriately adjust medications in response to changes in lifestyle

Never fear, however. Though checking your blood sugars is frustrating and exhausting for most people, after you learn how your body works and what it needs to stay controlled, your blood sugars will likely be more consistent and stable, and your healthcare team can help guide you to reduce testing frequency or test at different times.