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The Best Time to Test Blood Glucose Levels

written by: Bobby Mathew • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 11/21/2010

Ever wonder when is the best time to take your blood glucose levels? There are some key things to consider when it comes to checking blood sugar, such as the time of the day and consistency. What we uncover in this article shouldn't surprise you, but it can save you.

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    When is the best time to take your blood glucose levels? This is a question that a lot of diabetics, both non-insulin dependent and insulin dependent, ponder about. In general, if you're testing your blood sugar levels every day, make sure you test at the same time. But the real question is at what point in the day? Does fasting blood sugar have any advantage over postprandial blood sugar readings, or vice versa? We will discuss when is the best time to take your blood glucose levels if you are a non-insulin dependent diabetic.

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    Know those Numbers

    According to the Mayo Clinic, diabetics should aim for a blood sugar reading between 90 and 130 mg/dl after fasting for at least 8 hours. Before meals, blood sugar readings should fall between 70 and 130 mg/dl. About one or two hours after a meal, blood sugar levels should be lower than 180 mg/dl.

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    So When Is It?

    Health officials are now rethinking the answer to the question "when is the best time to take your blood glucose levels?" It seems that fasting blood sugar levels don't say enough about the state of a person's ability to process carbohydrates. For example, you could check your own blood sugar in the morning and your meter could read 120 mg/dl. However, some questions remain. How long did it take to get to that level and what will that number be like after a meal.

    Fasting blood sugar is important, however postprandial blood sugar readings may show an entirely different side of how well you are managing your diabetes. Again, if you are non-insulin dependent and are wondering when is the best time to take your blood glucose levels, it is 1-2 hours after a meal. Generally speaking, if your fasting blood sugar and blood sugar before meals are OK, it doesn't mean your diabetes is under control. Blood sugar spikes that are usually seen after a meal are a major contributor to diabetes complications. Also, your postprandial blood sugar contributes more to your HbA1c levels than blood sugar readings seen at other times.

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    Final Words

    If you are an insulin dependent diabetic it is strongly recommended that you consult with a doctor to know when is the best time to take your blood glucose level. This is because insulin dependent diabetics, in a sense, have to take higher precautions when it comes to their blood sugar. This is because they must constantly adjust the amount of insulin they need in order to maintain their blood sugar within an acceptable range.

    Whether you are an insulin dependent or non-insulin dependent diabetic, it is important to check your blood sugar regularly and more often when you are sick, stressed, pregnant, or changing medications, as all of these cause increases in blood sugar.