Self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG) at home is an important tool for managing diabetes and preventing health complications. Medical professionals often recommend SMBG to help avoid blood sugar spikes or drops, track daily trends, and assess how well blood glucose levels are being controlled. It’s important for anyone living with diabetes to understand the importance of this powerful tool and how it can help them take control of their health.
What Is Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose and Why Is It Important?
Self-monitoring blood glucose at home gives you valuable information to help you manage your diabetes successfully, including the following:
- Whether blood sugar levels are currently in your target range
- How medication, exercise, and food affect blood sugar levels
- Whether your treatment plan is effective
SMBG also allows you to prevent or address low or high blood sugar events in the moment. This can be deeply empowering and ease anxiety about your immediate and long-term health. Having a better understanding of your typical blood sugar values can reduce stress about short-term fluctuations and help you identify more serious changes.
When Should You Monitor Your Blood Glucose at Home?
It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about how often to check your blood sugar. Doctors typically recommend that SMBG be done more frequently by people with type 1 diabetes than those with type 2 diabetes, but this can vary depending on what diabetes medication you’re taking and your circumstances. The following are some of the most common times to self-monitor:
- Before meals/snacks
- Before and after exercise
- Shortly before bedtime
Your healthcare provider may recommend more frequent monitoring when you’re starting a new medication, when you’re sick, or when there’s a significant change in your daily routine. It’s also important to check your blood sugar if you’re experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia, including any of the following:
- Fast heart rate
- Excessive hunger
Your healthcare provider can determine what your target range should be and provide guidance on what you should do in the event of a high or low blood sugar event.
You can also consider paired testing. Paired testing refers to checking your blood sugar before a meal, exercise, or other activity and again 1-2 hours after those activities. This approach gives you insight into how variables like food, exercise, and medications affect your blood sugar so you can make informed choices.
How to Self-Monitor Blood Glucose at Home
There are two primary methods of self-monitoring blood glucose at home.
Traditional Blood Glucose Meters
Traditional blood glucose meters (BGMs) are used with accompanying lancets and test strips. To use a traditional BGM, you typically insert the strip into the meter, prick your finger with a lancet, and place a drop of blood on the test strip. If your meter has Bluetooth connectivity, it can upload your result to the meter’s accompanying mobile app.
While traditional BGMs are the most common method of self-monitoring blood glucose, they can present several challenges. For one, they require you to use separate test strips and lancets, which makes checking your blood sugar more tedious since you have to keep track of multiple testing components. With a busy lifestyle and a lively household, it can be difficult to test with traditional BGMs.
Automatic Blood Glucose Monitors
All-in-one, automatic blood glucose monitors make self-monitoring blood glucose at home or on the go fast, accurate, and discreet. The POGO Automatic® Monitor is the first FDA-cleared automatic monitoring system with 10-test cartridge technology that eliminates the need for separate test strips and lancets. With POGO Automatic, you simply press a button, and lancing and blood collection are done for you. Your results are displayed within seconds, and they sync with the free Patterns® for POGO Automatic app via Bluetooth. The Patterns app helps with paired testing (discussed earlier) because it allows you to track and manage specific trends, whether you’re pairing to meals, exercise, or other significant factors. POGO Automatic also offers an easy way to share your results with your healthcare provider.
Choose the Best Monitor for You
Self-monitoring blood glucose at home is one of the most valuable strategies available for people living with diabetes. Choosing a monitor that makes self-monitoring blood glucose simple can help you stay on track with your diabetes management plan and ensure that you and your healthcare provider have the information you need to support your health.
Jaclyn Owens is a product director specializing in diabetes management tools. She is committed to using technology to empower people with diabetes and help them take control of their health.
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.