How often should I self-monitor my blood glucose in type 1 diabetes?

The number of finger prick blood tests per day or per week will differ for everyone with type 1 diabetes, and you should work this out with the guidance of a health professional. How often you need to monitor your blood glucose with your glucose monitoring device will depend on the type of insulin you use, your diet, level of physical activity, age and individual circumstances.

Be aware — you may need to monitor your blood glucose more often when something changes that may affect your blood glucose level.

Factors that may affect your blood glucose level include:

  • changes to your normal diet or routine
  • a change to your type or dose of injected insulin
  • illness
  • travelling.

If any of these occur, you will again need to monitor more frequently. You may also need to monitor your blood glucose levels during exercise.

People recently diagnosed or starting a new type of insulin

People with type 1 diabetes who are newly diagnosed or who have recently started a new type of insulin may need to monitor their glucose levels frequently at first; for example, up to three or four times every day — such as first thing in the morning, and before and/or after eating meals. A health professional can provide advice about this.

People with well-controlled blood glucose

People with type 1 diabetes whose blood glucose is well controlled by their diet and diabetes medicine (injected insulin) will not need to test their blood glucose levels as often. Again, a health professional can provide advice about this.

It is important to keep a record of all blood glucose readings to show your health professional. This can help them to decide whether your diet and medicines are effectively controlling the diabetes or need changing.

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