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Blood sugar monitoring

The need for and goals of blood sugar measurements depend on the form of diabetes treatment, blood sugar balance, individual needs and situations

When diabetes is first diagnosed, the blood sugar, i.e. the blood glucose level is repeatedly measured in a laboratory. Going forward, the fasting blood sugar level can also be tested in a laboratory a few times a year if the person with diabetes is not self-monitoring the blood sugar level.

The need for self-monitoring as well as the blood sugar target range vary depending on the form of diabetes treatment, the risk of low blood sugar, i.e. hypoglycaemia sensitivity, blood sugar level and current situation. There may be more need for testing if the insulin therapy or diabetes medication used can drop the blood sugar level too low. More frequent testing is also required during the early stages of diabetes or if there are changes in the medication. The goal is to learn to cope on a daily basis as well as maintain a safe blood sugar level both in the short term and in the long term.

The blood sugar level can fluctuate for different reasons depending on the day and the time of day. In most cases, a suitable and safe blood sugar range is 4–7 mmol/l in the morning after waking up as well as before meals and below 8–10 mmol/l after meals.

The blood sugar can be checked in the traditional way from the fingertip and record the results before and after meals in a self-monitoring diary, one below the other. If recorded correctly in connection with the treatment used, the diary will provide a quick reference to the functionality of the treatment. Through regular self-monitoring of blood sugar person with diabetes will learn to tailor their diabetes treatment to the daily life and as appropriate in changeable situations. This way, a safe and suitable medication can be identified and insulin doses can be correctly estimated with regard to food, exercise and different situations.

The monitoring can be divided into:

  • The basic monitoring in accordance with the form of treatment

  • Intensified monitoring before an appointment or to correct the blood sugar balance

  • Situation-specific monitoring performed as required

Monitoring results can be viewed and shared with diabetes care provider using various data management programs or applications. Reports of the results can often be viewed and analysed using a smartphone or computer.

To ensure the reliability of the results, testing must be performed correctly and instructions must be followed on the use of care devices and storage of teststrips.

Updated 30.9.2023