Blood Glucose Levels: Get Curious!

Blood Glucose Levels: Get Curious!

Blood Glucose Levels: Get Curious!

Dinner is almost ready and it's that time again. You unzip your black pouch to unveil a glucose meter. As you pull back the lever of the lancet, you think, "Gosh. I hope it doesn't hurt that bad this time,” or “I hope my blood sugar isn’t high again.”

Blood glucose testing for people with diabetes is vital for managing diabetes Monitoring blood sugar levels through testing with a blood glucose monitor enables people with diabetes to understand the effects of certain foods, activities, and situations on their blood glucose levels at any given time. And the information from testing can help you and the diabetes care team evaluate the effectiveness of a new treatment routine or change in medication.  For people who take insulin, self-testing allows for more accurate dosage adjustments. 

The assumed guilt of an abnormal reading

For many people, there’s an assumption that if your blood glucose is high, you did something wrong or your diabetes is “bad” and that you should therefore feel guilty and ashamed, or maybe you have never been taught what to do with the information/numbers. Will these thoughts motivate you to test? Probably not. So, let’s think about how changing thinking can change feelings and actions which will produce better results. 

Developing your curiosity

Viewing blood sugar management positively and with curiosity can make a difference in whether you choose to test. Curiosity encourages you to seek out further information. 

People often feel overwhelmed and have difficulty staying motivated with their diabetes treatment plan including checking blood glucose regularly. By changing our thinking, we become more empowered, which changes our perspective and often results in better self-care decisions. There are often many barriers to testing that people with diabetes face which makes testing difficult. Can you relate to some of these barriers to testing blood sugar?

  1. I don’t understand the purpose.
  2. I am afraid that my blood glucose levels will be used as evidence of “cheating.”
  3. It's too much trouble, too expensive, or too uncomfortable.
  4. I don’t know what to do with the results.
  5. I don’t want to know the results because that might mean I need to do something different (i.e. change my diet).
Being in charge of your own care

Here's an example of a patient who wants to have a better understanding of their blood sugars, so they can be more involved with their own care.

 Belief: I am going to make time to test now that I have an understanding of what the numbers mean and that I am empowered by having this information

Feeling: I feel good knowing that I made testing my blood sugar a priority in my diabetes self -care management. Know I have a better understanding about the relationship between the food I had eaten and my blood sugar.

Thought: I am curious and want to know how this particular food affects my blood sugar 2 hours after eating. Testing my blood sugar and writing down what I ate will help me evaluate how this meal impacted my blood sugar. 

Action: By testing I can learn how my body responds to certain types and amounts of food as well as provide my diabetes team valuable information needed to make an effective diabetes care decision.

Result: Based on testing my blood sugar testing 2 hours after lunch, I learned that my body can tolerate only 60 grams of carbohydrates. The blood sugar reading was 130 which is in the normal range, which is less than 180.  When I consume 75 grams of carbohydrates, my blood sugar reading 2 hours after eating was 200 which is too high.  Now I know why I feel tired and unproductive when I have a bigger lunch.  When you test your blood sugar, you can base your self- care decisions around facts

As the patient continues to view this process with interest and curiosity instead of trepidation, fear and judgement, it is likely that this will lead to improvement in the A1C and unlock the mysteries surrounding diabetes. This started with a positive thought which empowered this individual to become more curious about blood sugar testing and using the information to learn more about their body and how it responds to carbohydrates.

You may even find that testing is fun—sort of like solving a puzzle. Okay, maybe “fun” is too strong of a word but relax a little and see what you discover.

How will you choose to view blood sugar testing?

Originally published November 14, 2016