Testing, 1, 2, 3

I follow a couple of diabetes-related groups on the internet, and if you’re so minded, it’s possible to have heated debates with people on the subject of how often you should test yourself. I mean, test yourself as often as you want, but bear in mind that for each test, you have to prick your finger, so you really have to ask yourself whether pricking yourself too frequently does it any harm. For example people who have pricked their fingers for many years often complain of poor circulation in their fingers and toes, but the Catch 22 is that diabetes itself causes poor circulation!

Anyway, I thought I’d describe my routine. Bear in mind that as I’ve blogged many times, I take insulin. Twice a day.

My daily testing regime, on top of that, is just to satisfy myself that I’m taking the right amount of insulin. To achieve this, I normally just check myself just once per day, before any food or meds, just to get an idea of what my baseline blood sugar is.

If the value is higher than I’d like, I make a note of it for future reference. I try and think back to yesterday – what did I eat which could have caused this? It’s invariably something high in carbs. A bag of crisps, maybe? Not necessarily anything sweet. Sugar is a carb, but it is a mistake to think that sugar is the only carb.

Following this, I’m very strict for a day or so. If the high value were due to food, then the test result should go down. If the test doesn’t go down, and it’s been that way for a number of days (I don’t have a fixed number of days), then I think about increasing my insulin. (In theory, if the number were consistently low, I’d do the opposite. But it doesn’t tend to happen in my case.)

If I do decide to increase my dose, I have a choice: to increase the morning dose (immediately pre-breakfast), or the evening dose (immediately pre-supper). To make that decision, I’m back to testing once again, so I can see how my sugar does at different times of the day. Once I have made a decision, I will increase the dose by a small amount at a time (maybe 5%). The process then starts over.

Daily tests I generally take at least 2 hours after food, just so that it doesn’t skew the result. Again from this forum, I’ve also heard that 90 minutes is an acceptable interval, and don’t really think it’s something I care enough about to argue the point.