Monitoring is an important aspect of self-care. It helps you know if you are meeting recommended treatment goals to keep you healthy.
The information you gain from regular monitoring can help you with your self-care in the following ways:
Problem solving such as learning how different foods affect your blood glucose (blood sugar), or when the optimal timing for adding activity into your day might be
Sticking with a healthy eating pattern by knowing when to have snacks and how they affect your blood glucose levels
Being able to check how your medications are working and what impact any new medications have
Being able to see overall trends that you can act on helps you maintain a positive outlook when individual numbers may be out of range
Lowering your risk of high or low blood glucose by having actionable information
Based on your goals for your diabetes, you and your diabetes care and education specialist will work together to decide what you monitor and how often. Don’t stop there. Discuss how you will use the data to make the best choices for your diabetes self-care. Your monitoring schedule should make sense for you.
How often you need to monitor your glucose depends on the type of diabetes you have, whether you take oral medication or insulin, and more. You may need to monitor only a few times a week or up to three times a day if you are using a meter. If you are wearing a continuous glucose monitor, you can see your glucose reading and the direction it’s headed at any time.
More Than Blood Glucose
Taking care of your diabetes includes more than monitoring your blood glucose levels. It involves your overall health, such as blood pressure, weight, cholesterol levels, heart health, sleep, mood, medications, and eye, kidney and foot health.
Your blood pressure will vary throughout the day. How often and when you check it can depend on medications you are taking, timing of activity and other factors. Talk with your diabetes specialist to determine the best times to check blood pressure.
Weight and Activity
Weight and activity monitoring can also provide you a more complete picture of how you are progressing toward your self-care goals. By simply looking at the numbers, you can help yourself understand how your daily choices of food, your activity, and your medications are working and how they are impacting your blood glucose and blood pressure.
Monitoring your sleep to make sure you are getting adequate amounts and good quality sleep is important for healthy coping. There are many apps available to help you evaluate your sleeping patterns if you are looking for support through technology.
Working with Your Healthcare Team
As you monitor, you will gain insights into your diabetes self-care. Make sure to share this data with your healthcare team. This way you can have a focused conversation to determine what works best for you. If your numbers are not at goal, then discuss with your team whether your medication plan needs to be changed or if there are any changes you can make in other areas of self-care that would benefit you.
Because diabetes can affect your whole body, your healthcare providers should also regularly monitor your:
Heart health (blood pressure, weight and cholesterol level)
Kidney health (urine and blood testing)
Eye health (eye exams)
Foot health (foot exams and sensory testing)