Blood Glucose Testing

Author's Perspective

As engineers, we just love numbers -- we love everything about numbers -- counting, recording, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, collecting and analyzing the numbers. We really love doing all of this to help solve a complex problem.

As it turned out, blood glucose testing was a Godsend for me. It helped me to separate fact from fiction; and, also how to better use the data to help me to improve and optimize my blood glucose control.

During my recovery, my mother told me: "Son, God gave you the perfect disease for an engineer." She was right -- being able to collect and analyze the data put me in a comfort zone that allowed me to safely wean off the 60 units of insulin within 3.5 months.

During my research, I discovered that most books written on diabetes and most doctors and diabetes experts only used blood glucose testing to determine the drug dosage, the number of carbs that a diabetic could eat, and whether there was a problem with a specific food.

I couldn't find a diabetes book or a medical expert who could explain how to leverage the data to better manage your diabetes and prevent the onset of complications! Fortunately, I was able to figure out how to use and analyze the data to lower my blood sugar, manage my diabetes and wean off the insulin!

For example, it turns out that the post-meal reading can be used to determine your body's level of insulin resistance and whether your body is doing a good enough job at metabolizing and processing the food. 

Another example has to do with the standard deviation, which can be used to evaluate blood glucose stabilization, which is an excellent predictor of being able to keep your blood sugar in the normal range without the high swings.

Note: For more details, refer to the Blood Glucose Testing web pages on the main website.


Blood Glucose Tests & Ranges

Fasting Test

The fasting blood glucose test is performed by pricking your finger and placing a drop of blood on a test strip. This drop of blood is analyzed by your blood glucose meter and translated into a number that is displayed in the window of your glucose meter. This number indicates your blood glucose level at that particular moment and is based on what you ate and did during the past few hours since your last meal.

The following is the set of normal ranges for fasting blood glucose levels.

Fasting glucose level before meals: 80-100 mg/dl
Optimum Range: 80-95 mg/dl
Optimum Running Average: 92 mg/dl or less

Post-Meal Test

The post-meal or postprandial blood glucose test is performed 2 hours after your meal.

The number displayed in the window of your glucose meter indicates your blood glucose level and how well your body metabolized and processed the food that you ate.

In many ways, this is the most important test because it tells you whether your body is responding especially when you start eating healthy foods on a consistent basis.

The following is the set of normal ranges for post-meal blood glucose levels.

Postprandial glucose level (2 hours after meals): 90-110 mg/dl
Optimum Range: 80-100 mg/dl
Optimum Running Average: 95 mg/dl or less


Frequency & Timing of Blood Glucose Tests

The frequency and timing of tests will vary depending on an individual's therapy, goals, and resources. When any changes occur in food, exercise, medications, illness, or travel, more testing should occur.

If you are Type 1, you should minimally test the following times:

  • Before meals
  • 1 hour after meals if needed
  • 2 hours after meals
  • Before/after snacks
  • Before/after exercise
  • After a stressful event if needed
  • Before bed
  • During the night if needed

If you are Type 2, you should minimally test the following times:

  • Before meals
  • 2 hours after meals
  • Before/after exercise
  • After a stressful event if needed
  • Before bed if needed
  • During the night if needed

If you can't afford to test this frequently, then, perform the following minimum tests: 

  • Before breakfast
  • 2 hours after breakfast (optional)
  • Before lunch (optional)
  • Before dinner
  • 2 hours after dinner

Before you begin testing, have your healthcare provider show you the best techniques or watch some videos online. When testing be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions and these helpful suggestions:

  • Wash your hands (anything on your hands can change the reading).
  • Collect the amount of blood required.
  • Test again if reading seems incorrect. Use another meter to double check.
  • Clean your meter as often as required.
  • Record date/time and your test results.

Here are some tips for accurate readings:

  • Be sure to match the code on the meter or the meter's code chip with the code on the strip container (new meters now check the test strips automatically when they're inserted).
  • Check the date on the strips for freshness.
  • Store strips so they don't deteriorate (protect from heat, light, and humidity)
  • Check for low battery if results aren't accurate
  • Be sure to keep a good record of all tests. Discuss blood glucose goal ranges with your healthcare provider. Discuss how and when to make changes to your diabetes care -- food, exercise, medications, insulin doses -- based on your readings.

Note 1: In general, high blood glucose readings are usually due to several reasons, including drug dosage, drug-timing, food, beverages, eating or drinking one of the 5 "dead" foods during the past 36 hours, not detoxing, not eating enough raw foods especially vegetables, not juicing, not exercising enough, over-exercising, not getting enough sleep, stress, poor quality supplements, not following all 10 steps of the diabetes program, etc. 

Note 2: Some health insurance programs may not pay for more than 1 to 3 test strips a day. During my recovery, I used 8 to 12 test strips a day, so I had to pay for most of my test strips. I did this because I knew that collecting the data would help me to make better decisions about my meals and insulin dosages. But, it's not necessary that you test that often. However, testing only 1 or 2 times a day will not give you enough data to make corrective actions.