Monitoring your diabetes – What your results mean?

What can I do if I regularly get high readings?

You can identify the cause by looking at the times when your readings are high and considering what you were doing in the hours leading up to this. Once you’ve done this assessment, the next step is taking some action to remedy the situation. You might decide, for example, to decrease the amount of food you eat or increase the amount of physical activity you do.

I hurt my back while gardening and have needed to rest. My test results have all been over 270 mg/dl since. What should I do?

Your blood glucose level is likely to be high because you are inactive, so temporarily increasing the dose of your pills or insulin (if you are using medication) will bring it down again. When you are better and become active again, your blood glucose level is likely to fall, so you may need to decrease the dose of your medication at this point. You can also increase your pills or insulin dose like this when you are ill or when you gain weight – when you recover or lose weight you can adjust your dose down again.

My blood glucose keeps swinging between high and low readings – what should I do?

This may happen when you treat a hypoglycemic attack with glucose or a sugary snack. Since your liver also releases glucose to compensate, you end up with a high level of glucose in your blood. Reducing your medication, or altering your activity levels or eating patterns, can help you avoid hypoglycemic attacks. Other causes of swinging blood glucose level are an irregular daily routine or food intake, or variations in the timing or dose of your medication. Examining these possibilities will help you identify the cause.

How often does my blood glucose need to be high before I should worry about it?

A single or an occasional high reading with an obvious cause will not cause long-term damage to your nerves or blood vessels, but if you have high readings for more than a day or two, then it’s worth trying to identify the cause and taking remedial action.

What can I do if I get a lot of low readings?

Your monitoring diary will help you identify what you were doing – in terms of activity, eating, drinking, or taking medication – before your low readings. Once you have figured out the reason for the low readings you can decide what action to take to prevent them from recurring. If you are unsure what steps you should take, talking to your health professional might help you determine a course of action.

Can low readings do any harm?

If you have repeated low readings, you are less safe while driving and they may reduce your awareness of when you are starting to have a hypoglycemic attack. This lack of awareness is dangerous because if you are not able to react to the early warning signs you will be less able to treat yourself. Taking action quickly in response to low readings, such as having a glucose drink, will help keep or restore your warning symptoms. Avoiding hypoglycemic episodes altogether for a few weeks can also help.

Is it okay to round my test results up or down to make whole numbers in my diary?

Yes. The range of your results is more important than the exact tenth of a milligram that the decimal point indicates. If you have a reading of 133.4 you can round down to 133, while if you have a reading of 133.5 or more then you could round up the next whole number, in this example 134.

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