Monitoring is an important aspect of self-care. It helps you know if you are meeting recommended treatment goals to keep you healthy.
The information you gain from regular monitoring can help you with your self-care in the following ways:
- Problem solving such as learning how different foods affect your blood glucose (blood sugar), or when the optimal timing for adding activity into your day might be.
- Sticking with a healthy eating pattern by knowing when to have snacks and how they affect your blood glucose levels.
- Being able to check how your medications are working and what impact any new medications have.
- Being able to see overall trends that you can act on helps you maintain a positive outlook when individual numbers may be out of range.
- Lowering your risk of high or low blood glucose by having actionable information.
Based on your goals for your diabetes, you and your diabetes care and education specialist will work together to decide what you monitor and how often. Don’t stop there. Discuss how you will use the data to make the best choices for your diabetes self-care. Your monitoring schedule should make sense for you.
How often you need to monitor your glucose depends on the type of diabetes you have, whether you take oral medication or insulin, and more. You may need to monitor only a few times a week or up to three times a day if you are using a meter. If you are wearing a continuous glucose monitor, you can see your glucose reading and the direction it's headed at any time.
More Than Blood Glucose
Taking care of your diabetes includes more than monitoring your blood glucose levels. It involves your overall health, such as blood pressure, weight, cholesterol levels, heart health, sleep, mood, medications, and eye, kidney and foot health.
Your blood pressure will vary throughout the day. How often and when you check it can depend on medications you are taking, timing of activity and other factors. Talk with your diabetes care and education specialist to determine the best times to check blood pressure.
Weight and Activity
Weight and activity monitoring can also provide you a more complete picture of how you are progressing toward your self-care goals. By simply looking at the numbers, you can help yourself understand how your daily choices of food, your activity, and your medications are working and how they are impacting your blood glucose and blood pressure.
Monitoring your sleep to make sure you are getting adequate amounts and good quality sleep is important for healthy coping. There are many apps available to help you evaluate your sleeping patterns if you are looking for support through technology.
Working with Your Healthcare Team
As you monitor, you will gain insights into your diabetes self-care. Make sure to share this data with your healthcare team. This way you can have a focused conversation to determine what works best for you. If your numbers are not at goal, then discuss with your team whether your medication plan needs to be changed or if there are any changes you can make in other areas of self-care that would benefit you.
Because diabetes can affect your whole body, your healthcare providers should also regularly monitor your:
- Heart health (blood pressure, weight and cholesterol level).
- Kidney health (urine and blood testing).
- Eye health (eye exams).
- Foot health (foot exams and sensory testing).
Use this discussion guide to speak with your diabetes care team
to determine what tools you can use to ease the burden of tracking your important diabetes information.
You can download a tip sheet on monitoring, including tips for monitoring glucose here:
Glucose Monitoring: What's In It For Me? Handout - English
Also available in:
Glucose Monitoring Tips and Tricks Handout - English
Also available in:
Maximize Your Diabetes Self-Management: How to Be A Diabetes Detective Handout - English
Also available in:
Understanding High Morning Blood Sugars: The Dawn and Somogyi Effects Handout - English
Also available in:
Understanding Time in Range
Are you using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in order to help you understand your blood sugar numbers and learn how much time you're spending in your target range? If so, you should understand the concept of Time In Range, which is the number of hours you spend in your target range each day. This helps you better manage your blood sugar and stay healthy. Click on the tip sheet or video to learn more.
Also available in Spanish/Español
Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring Right for You? (A Patient Education Podcast)
Do you want more information on continuous glucose monitoring (also known as “CGM”) or wonder if continuous glucose monitoring can help you better manage your diabetes? Listen to this podcast hosted by two diabetes education specialists, Diana Isaacs, PharmD, and Patricia Montesinos, NP, as they discuss common questions from people with diabetes about continuous glucose monitoring. The pair will start by reviewing what CGM is, how it works, and describe the different types of CGM devices and how they are used. Then they will move on to discuss topics including the pros and cons of CGM, who qualifies for CGM, common questions about using CGM devices, and how to decide about which device might be right for you.
How to Reap the Benefits of Continuous Glucose Monitoring and Maintain Your Device (A Patient Education Podcast)
Do you use continuous glucose monitoring (also known as “CGM”) or care for someone who does? Listen to this podcast hosted by two diabetes education specialists, Diana Isaacs, PharmD, and Patricia Montesinos, NP, as they review important information regarding the currently available CGM devices and discuss common issues and questions that arise for people with diabetes using CGM. The pair will begin by reviewing important information about CGM devices for people starting out and will address common questions about using CGM. This will be followed by discussion of more advanced topics, including when to call your healthcare team about your device or the glucose data on your device, and how to approach making insulin and dietary adjustments based on glucose data from a CGM device.
Pocket Guide - Continuous Glucose Monitoring: Connecting the Dots
This pocket guide explains the differences between blood glucose monitoring (BGM) and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). Learning about and living with CGM is explained in depth and is also illustrated with case studies.
CGM guide en español