5 Factors That Affect How Often You Need to Test Your Blood Sugar

How often you test depends on several different factors.
You should test your blood sugar at home, but how often is enough? Well, it depends—mostly on your medication, you, and your doctor.

The American Diabetes Association recommends testing your blood sugar at least three times a day if you need multiple daily insulin injections. But for the rest of those with type 2 diabetes, testing frequency should be "dictated by the particular needs and goals of the patients," the ADA says.

That means that frequent testing is clearly necessarily for some people with type 2 diabetes, but there is a little wiggle room for others. (All type 1 diabetics take multiple daily insulin injections and need to monitor blood sugar frequently.)

Some studies suggest that frequent monitoring is not always helpful for people with type 2 diabetes. But that research is still being debated. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you determine how often and when you should be testing.

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How often you test depends on the following factors.

  • Medication: Some classes of oral drugs can cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, so you may need to test more often. "Generally, anyone who takes insulin should test several times a day as well as individuals who take sulfonylureas or meglitinides," says Nadine Uplinger, a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators and director of the Gutman Diabetes Institute at the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia.
  • Changes: If you've just been diagnosed with diabetes, started on a new medication, added a new type of food, or recently changed some other factor (for example, you have gained or lost weight, or are exercising more or less often), then you should test more frequently. "Individuals who are changing their treatment regimen should test several times a day," Uplinger says.

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Last Updated: August 14, 2008

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