Am I doing everything I should to solve my Prediabetes?
If you’ve asked yourself that question, blood sugar monitoring is a topic that comes easily to mind.
Blood sugar monitoring helps you understand your blood glucose at different times of day, and throughout stages of your life. This kind of awareness is ideal for a person seeking wellness, and it is helpful to have the motivation to provide self-care at home.
The healthcare cost for someone with Prediabetes, who later moves onto Type 2 Diabetes, is more than $13,000 per year. This is double the cost of healthcare for a healthy person. Over a 20-year time frame, that’s a cost overage of $130,000!
This financial fact is valuable to consider when you are thinking about blood sugar monitoring. With preventative self-care behaviors at home, you can take care of your body and your budget.
When your Blood Sugar is Too High
Before we discuss the task of blood sugar monitoring, it would be helpful for you to understand the common methods doctors recommend for lowering a blood sugar that’s too high. When you understand how food, insulin, and physical activity work together to affect blood sugar levels, you can better manage Prediabetes.
- Carbohydrate foods raise your blood glucose level
- Insulin and physical activity lower blood glucose levels
- Blood sugar monitoring will help you know if you are reaching the blood glucose targets set by your doctor
- Your doctor’s office will assist you in creating a Mealtime Insulin Dosing plan, if you do medicate within a Type 2 Diabetes or Type 1 Diabetes situation. [The Solution Starter Program does NOT replace the instructions from your doctor.]
- A person who has prediabetes can self-monitor their blood glucose and learn what level of carbohydrates and physical activity are ideal for their body.
- Counting Carbs is a topic of interest to those with diabetes. Those with Prediabetes can benefit from counting carbs as they work to drop 5-10% of their starting body weight.
What times during the day should you check your blood glucose at home?
- Before meals and at bedtime
- When you have signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- One to two hours after a meal
- Before you are physically active
If this sounds like a lot of blood sugar monitoring to you, I understand your feelings! While not everyone will be interested in, or need to monitor this often, a person who is new to the Prediabetes diagnosis will likely find blood sugar monitoring very informative.
This information will bring a body awareness about what if feels like to you if your blood glucose is too high or too low. Please understand that there is No One Diet or Perfect Plan that fits everyone. That is why you may need to do some blood sugar research on your own body, and that means tracking your blood sugar levels at the four key times of day I’ve mentioned.
For most people, measuring blood sugar at home will not be something done on a daily basis. I encourage you to give blood sugar monitoring a 2-Week Try so you can fully understand your body through its reaction to specific foods.
Your insurance may cover only a certain number of test strips. If you need more supplies for your blood sugar monitoring, talk with your diabetes care provider. Together, you can come up with a plan about when to check your blood glucose.
If you have Prediabetes and begin blood sugar monitoring as a member of the Solution Starter Program, you will be encouraged to track your results over a two-week period. These tests are at-home, finger-stick blood tests.
Your doctor may also have you do a fasting blood-draw test one or more times a year in their office or at the lab.
Low Blood Sugar Treatment: Follow the “Rule of 15”
Should you find yourself in a low blood-sugar state during your two-week at-home testing, I’d like to introduce you to the “Rule of 15”. Follow the steps below to treat low blood glucose. This is an important Homemade Health self-care behavior!
- Check your blood glucose using the monitor and test strips of your choice.
- If your blood glucose level is:
- Less than 70 mg/dL, treat by eating or drinking 15 grams of carbohydrate.
- Less than 50 mg/dL, treat by eating or drinking 30 grams of carbohydrate.
- Check your blood glucose level again after 15 minutes.
- If it is still less than 70 mg/dL, treat again with another 15 grams of carbohydrate.
- Once your blood glucose has returned to your target level, eat a small snack if your next meal is not within one hour.
Source: American Diabetes Association
Which kind of Blood Sugar Monitor for Finger-Stick Testing should I use?
You have lots of options when it comes to blood sugar monitoring. That’s the good news! Sometimes it is difficult to find the kind of monitor that is ideal for you and your lifestyle. That’s the challenge! Here is my recap of all your options today for blood sugar monitoring. Read down this list and find the brand or style that sounds like the one you’d like to try. Take any questions you may have about your choice to your Pharmacist or diabetes care provider. They can add to your decision-making process.
FreeStyle Lite by Abbott
This is the meter I have the most experience within my Colorado coaching office. It is popular for my Solution Starter Program for Prediabetes clients who are active and on-the-go! The backlit display makes it easy to test in a variety of places and times of day. We like the way the testing strips wick-up the blood into the meter, as less blood means easier testing. When I tell you that this is the most popular brand of meter, what I mean is that after my clients practice using a variety of brands, this is the meter they typically purchase at their pharmacy.
OneTouch Ultra 2 by LifeScan
It may be recommended to you by your healthcare team that you purchase the OneTouch Ultra 2. One reason this happens is that it has the lowest co-pay on most health insurance plans. If you have traditional Medicare Part B, this meter will be 100% covered for you [as of the writing of this article]. Even without insurance, this meter costs under $20, and there’s a reason for that. This meter is a bit dated, in my opinion. The user of this meter has to enter a code on the side of the test strip vial before testing, and that effort has been engineered-out of its competition. If it is easy for you to draw a healthy-sized bead of blood when testing, that would be a good thing for users of this meter. It does require a larger blood sample to work. I like that it can hold or record 500 tests in its memory, and you can buy additional software to more thoroughly track your readings.
ReliOn Confirm by Wal-Mart
Another bargain brand of glucose meter, the ReliOn has other advantages, too. Not everyone with Prediabetes has insurance coverage for testing, and the cost of the strips used with this device are among the lowest cost I’ve seen (about 40 cents each). These test strips do not require the coding that I mentioned above for the OneTouch brand, so that’s easier. In my experience, this brand of meter is one that benefits from Control Solution*. And while that is not included in the package with the meter, it can be purchased separately for approximately $5.
True2go by Walgreens
I have rounded out my recommendations for you about choosing a meter for your blood sugar monitoring with the affordable option at Walgreens.
Priced under $10, it’s a great choice. The test strips do not require coding, and I’ve noticed with my coaching clients that the results pop-up quickly. I like that the memory stores 500 readings with a time/date stamp. That helps keep record-keeping simple.
Some of my fashion-conscious clients appreciate the small size of this meter…they can pop it in a pocket or small handbag…and no one is the wiser.
My only caution about the Walgreens brand of meter would be for anyone who tends toward low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. If there are any inaccuracies compared to some of the other models, it’s very important that false low readings do not cause the user to become complacent and skip the “Rule of 15” treatment I’ve described above.