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Managing your blood sugar

Alternative names

Hyperglycemia - control; Hypoglycemia - control; Diabetes - blood sugar control

Take control of your diabetes

Know the basic steps for managing your diabetes to stay healthy. 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 doctor or nurse recommends.

Check your blood sugar often

Checking your blood sugar levels often and writing down 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 doctor or nurse. 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 health care 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 do not know why, call your doctor or nurse.

Recommended blood sugar targets

For people with type 1 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends the following blood sugar targets. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about these goals.

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 recommends the following blood sugar targets. Talk to your doctor and diabetes educator about these goals.

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 doctor if your blood sugar is too high or too low and you don't understand why. When your blood sugar is in your target range, you will feel better and your health will be better.

References

Alemzadeh R, Ali O. Diabetes mellitus. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, et al., eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 583.

American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2014. Diabetes Care. 2014;37:S14-S80.

Buse JB, Polonsky KS, Burant C. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011: chap 31.

Eisenbarth GS, Buse JB. Type 1 diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 32.


Review Date: 8/5/2014
Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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