When you were diagnosed with diabetes, you were probably prescribed a glucose meter and told to check your blood sugar. But, were you told how and when to check? 

Do you know how to check your blood sugar? If not, we explain here: How to Test Your Blood Sugar. But figuring out when to check can be confusing. A single blood sugar check doesn't really tell you how well you are managing diabetes. It is simply a data point. In order to use the results, you need multiple data points at controlled times that can be analyzed. If your doctor asked you to test weekly, a few times per week or once a day, you may want to consider testing more often for a month. Increasing the frequency of your testing will help collect the data points you need in order to make educated decisions for your health. 

Here are four key times to check your blood sugar and what you can learn from them.

When you wake up

Checking your blood sugar in the morning, also known as fasting blood sugar, is the best way to get an understanding of your flatline. When you haven't eaten any food for several hours there are no carbohydrates moving your blood sugar level up or recent medications moving it down. Your number has probably been about the same through the night. High fasting blood sugar above 140 mg/dL (that's milligrams of glucose found in a deciliter of blood) can tell you that your night eating habits or medication dosing may need adjusting. A reading between 70 and 140 mg/dL indicates proper balance. If your reading is consistently below 70, talk to your doctor about adjustments that you can make to your evening treatment plan.

Before and after a meal

Not all foods will affect everybody the same. Carbohydrates will undoubtedly raise blood sugar, but the amount of certain carbohydrates that will raise yours may not be the same as what affects others'. Two hours after eating, also know as postprandial blood sugar, is generally when the effect of your meal has peaked. Check your blood sugar right before a meal and again two hours later to find out how specific foods affect you.  This will help you make informed food choices and manage portions.


Your last meal or snack of the day will not only show up at bedtime but will also influence what will happen in your body throughout the night. Check your blood sugar right before bed. When you check in the morning, compare the two results to see how your nighttime medications, snacks and sleep affect you. This data point can help you make adjustments to your evening routine.

Managing the cost

Suggesting all these extra blood sugar checks may cause you to think about the overwhelming cost. Testing blood sugar can be very expensive if you are used to buying from prescribed suppliers. Diathrive provides test strips at a much lower cost without a prescription or insurance. If you're ready to try the four key blood sugar checks but you don't have enough test strips, temporarily increase your supply by calling our customer service department at 866-878-7477 or click the chat icon at the bottom-right of this page.Set yourself up to succeed. Better blood sugar management leads to better health, less risk of diabetes complications and more energy to enjoy life. 

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