How often should I self-monitor my blood glucose in type 2 diabetes?

Monitoring your own blood glucose levels with your glucose monitoring device is recommended for anyone with type 2 diabetes who is using diabetes medicines that can cause low blood glucose or ‘hypos’ (hypoglycaemia), such as insulin or a sulfonylurea.

The number of finger prick blood tests per day or per week will differ for everyone with diabetes, and should be worked out in consultation with a health professional. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator for advice. How often testing is needed will depend on the type of diabetes, the medicines being taken, diet, physical activity, 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.

Changes that may affect your blood glucose level may include:

  • changes to your normal diet or routine
  • changes to your diabetes medicines (a new medicine or dose)
  • illness
  • travelling.

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

People recently diagnosed or starting a new diabetes medicine

You may need to monitor your 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 will provide advice about this.

People with well-controlled blood glucose

If your blood glucose is well controlled by your diet and diabetes medicines (even if you are taking insulin or a sulfonylurea), you don’t need to test your blood glucose levels as often as people who are just diagnosed or who have type 1 diabetes. You may only need to test your glucose levels on 2 or 3 days every week at different times (before and after meals) during the day. A health professional will provide advice about this.

Older people

If your blood glucose is well controlled by diet and diabetes medicines, you may only need to self-monitor on 1 or 2 days every week. A health professional will provide advice about this.

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

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