Checking your blood glucose levels regularly is one of the most important things you can do to manage your diabetes. While your healthcare provider monitors your glucose levels with various lab tests, more frequent measurements rely on self-monitoring. Understanding the benefits of monitoring blood glucose with a portable monitor can help you stay on track and achieve your long-term A1c goals.
What Are the Benefits of Blood Glucose Monitoring?
Checking your blood glucose levels routinely confers significant benefits, including the following:
- Provides information necessary for you and your healthcare provider to determine how well your treatment plan is working
- Gives insight into how diet, exercise, stress, and illness affect your glucose levels
- Helps you prevent serious complications from undetected low or high glucose levels, including heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease, and nerve damage
- Reduces anxiety associated with not knowing how well you’re managing your diabetes between visits with your healthcare provider
- Increases motivation to practice healthy habits
- Helps you determine if your glucose levels are too high or too low to drive or operate heavy machinery
You can optimize the benefits of monitoring blood glucose levels by regularly comparing your measurements with your target blood glucose range. While the American Diabetes Association generally recommends target ranges of 80–130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL about 2 hours after meals, individual targets vary depending on age and health. You should always ask your healthcare provider what a reasonable target range is for you.
How to Overcome Barriers to Daily Blood Glucose Monitoring
People with type 2 diabetes may be instructed to check their blood glucose levels up to a few times a day, and people with type 1 diabetes often have to check anywhere from 4 to 10 times a day. This frequency of testing can present challenges, and some people find that they have trouble adhering to the recommended monitoring schedule. Here are some of the most common reasons for not testing regularly:
- Reluctance to test due to sore fingertips
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty finding time to test
- Dexterity issues
- Lack of privacy
Finding strategies for overcoming these barriers is crucial to staying on track with your diabetes management plan.
To avoid sore fingertips, use different fingers to check your glucose throughout the day and avoid reusing lancets, as dull lancets can cause more pain. Instead of pricking your sensitive finger pads, use the sides of your fingertips. Avoid squeezing your fingertip to produce more blood.
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is one way to overcome the barriers of daily testing, but it comes with some drawbacks. Some people with diabetes prefer an all-in-one blood glucose monitor for easy, fast, and private blood sugar checks.
Continuous Glucose Monitor
A CGM is a device that monitors glucose levels continuously using a sensor that is inserted under the skin. The sensor is held in place by an adhesive patch and connected to a transmitter that sends real-time readings to a monitor. CGMs usually require finger pricks only for calibration. They provide continuous feedback without causing interruptions to your daily schedule, requiring the dexterity or motivation for frequent hand-held measurements, or being easily noticeable to those around you.
While CGMs are a great option for some, they have several drawbacks:
- CGMs measure interstitial fluid—the fluid that surrounds cells—instead of blood. These readings are not always reliable, especially if your blood glucose level changes rapidly.
- Adhesive patches may cause skin irritation.
- The adhesive and sensor may need to be replaced frequently due to daily activities.
- CGMs must be worn all the time, which some people find cumbersome.
These drawbacks make some people reluctant to use CGMs.
An all-in-one blood monitor provides an easier, more discreet way to realize the benefits of monitoring blood glucose levels. The POGO Automatic® Monitor, for example, uses 10-test cartridges with built-in lancets and test strips, which means you no longer have to carry separate components or load your device each time you test. With innovative one-step testing, the device is simple and quick to use, eliminating common barriers to testing created by traditional blood glucose meters. Because testing takes only a few seconds, POGO Automatic is easy to fit into your schedule and lets you test without everyone noticing, even when you’re on the go.
Make the Most of Your Blood Glucose Measurements
Understanding the benefits of monitoring your blood glucose levels and choosing the right monitoring tools can help you more effectively manage your diabetes. Not only does regular monitoring give you greater insight into your health, it also gives your healthcare provider vital information about your needs and treatment plan. With a clear picture of your daily glucose levels and trends over time, you can take meaningful steps to help you stay within your target range and achieve the best outcomes.
Robert Miller is a customer experience specialist committed to helping people navigate the world of diabetes. He focuses on finding innovative tools and strategies that make diabetes management easier to support long-term wellness.
All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.