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Blood Glucose Montoring

Checking blood glucose levels by using a blood glucose meter or blood glucose test strips that change color when touched by a blood sample in order to manage diabetes.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

About Blood Glucose Monitoring

There are two types of tests that tell you your blood sugar level:

Doctors use a special blood test, called an A1C test, to check how high your blood sugar level was during the past 3 months. Having an A1C level of 7 percent or below means that your blood sugar has been well controlled over the past 3 months.

When taking insulin, you need to use a different type of test called a blood sugar test—often done with a fingerstick—to help you adjust the amount of insulin you take during the day. This test measures the amount of sugar in your blood at any one time. This measurement is given in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

The normal blood sugar levels for people who do not have diabetes are:

  • Between 70 and 130 mg/dL before meals
  • Less than 180 mg/dL at 2 hours after meals...

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What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Chinese herbal medicines for people with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting blood glucose

Around 308 million people worldwide are reported to have 'impaired glucose tolerance'. These individuals show higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) levels, but do not meet diagnostic criteria for having type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This may provide a window in which to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and its complications like cardiovascular disease. Within a decade of the initial diagnosis 'impared glucose tolerance' 25% to 75% are estimated to progress to diabetes.

Alpha‐glucosidase inhibitors for people with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting blood glucose

Alpha‐glucosidase inhibitors (acarbose, miglitol, voglibose) are drugs that delay the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut, and consequently slow down the absorption of sugars. Patients with type 2 diabetes may use it therapeutically. People with a raised blood glucose level (without being a diabetes patient) may use this drug in order to prevent developing type 2 diabetes and diabetes related morbidity such as cardiovascular diseases. To find evidence for these assumptions, we searched the medical literature for randomised controlled trials of at least one‐year duration, investigating alpha‐glucosidase inhibitors for patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting blood glucose (IFBG). Patients with IGT or IFBG have raised blood glucose levels, but do not meet the criteria for having type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Self‐monitoring of blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who are not using insulin

Self‐monitoring of blood glucose has been found to be effective as a tool in the self‐management of patients' glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes using insulin therapy. Patients can use the glucose values to adjust their insulin doses. It is hypothesized that patients with type 2 diabetes who are not using insulin might use the glucose values to adjust their diet and 'lifestyle'. However, there is no consensus on the effect of self‐monitoring of blood glucose for type 2 diabetes patients not using insulin. In this systematic review update six new randomised controlled trials were added to the six trials that had been included in the original review. For the comparison of the effect of self‐monitoring versus no self‐monitoring in patients with a diabetes duration of one year or more 2324 patients with a six months follow‐up and 493 patients with a 12 months follow‐up were available. Pooled results of studies including patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for at least one year show that self‐monitoring of blood glucose has a minimal effect in improving glucose control at six months, which disappears after 12 months follow‐up. The clinical benefit resulting from this effect is limited.

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Summaries for consumers

Chinese herbal medicines for people with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting blood glucose

Around 308 million people worldwide are reported to have 'impaired glucose tolerance'. These individuals show higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) levels, but do not meet diagnostic criteria for having type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This may provide a window in which to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and its complications like cardiovascular disease. Within a decade of the initial diagnosis 'impared glucose tolerance' 25% to 75% are estimated to progress to diabetes.

Alpha‐glucosidase inhibitors for people with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting blood glucose

Alpha‐glucosidase inhibitors (acarbose, miglitol, voglibose) are drugs that delay the breakdown of carbohydrates in the gut, and consequently slow down the absorption of sugars. Patients with type 2 diabetes may use it therapeutically. People with a raised blood glucose level (without being a diabetes patient) may use this drug in order to prevent developing type 2 diabetes and diabetes related morbidity such as cardiovascular diseases. To find evidence for these assumptions, we searched the medical literature for randomised controlled trials of at least one‐year duration, investigating alpha‐glucosidase inhibitors for patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting blood glucose (IFBG). Patients with IGT or IFBG have raised blood glucose levels, but do not meet the criteria for having type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Self‐monitoring of blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who are not using insulin

Self‐monitoring of blood glucose has been found to be effective as a tool in the self‐management of patients' glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes using insulin therapy. Patients can use the glucose values to adjust their insulin doses. It is hypothesized that patients with type 2 diabetes who are not using insulin might use the glucose values to adjust their diet and 'lifestyle'. However, there is no consensus on the effect of self‐monitoring of blood glucose for type 2 diabetes patients not using insulin. In this systematic review update six new randomised controlled trials were added to the six trials that had been included in the original review. For the comparison of the effect of self‐monitoring versus no self‐monitoring in patients with a diabetes duration of one year or more 2324 patients with a six months follow‐up and 493 patients with a 12 months follow‐up were available. Pooled results of studies including patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for at least one year show that self‐monitoring of blood glucose has a minimal effect in improving glucose control at six months, which disappears after 12 months follow‐up. The clinical benefit resulting from this effect is limited.

See all (227)

Terms to know

Blood Glucose
The main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy. Also called blood sugar.
Glucagon
A hormone produced by the pancreas that increases the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Hyperglycemia
Higher than normal amount of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Hyperglycemia can be a sign of diabetes or other conditions. Also called high blood sugar.
Hypoglycemia
Also called low blood glucose, a condition that occurs when one's blood glucose is lower than normal, usually below 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion.
Insulin
A hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or other means.

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Also called: Blood glucose testing

See Also: Diabetes

Other terms to know: See all 5
Blood Glucose, Glucagon, Hyperglycemia

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