Not everyone with diabetes needs to monitor their blood glucose levels at home, but it is usually recommended for those using insulin, other injectable drugs or any medication that can cause hypos. Monitoring your blood glucose levels keeps your diabetes on track and reduces the risk of developing complications. Testing can give you a better understanding of how different foods and activities impact on your blood glucose levels.
You can monitor your blood glucose levels through a finger-prick test or by using continuous glucose (CGM) or flash glucose monitor.
A flash glucose monitor is a sensor usually worn on the arm, that records your glucose levels roughly every 5 minutes. You can scan the sensor with a reader whenever you want to.
A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) is a device that continuously records the amount of glucose and is usually inserted in the stomach area.
Both systems measure the glucose levels in the fluid just under the skin, through a small cannula which can be inserted at home and needs changing every few days. There is a time delay between the real glucose in the blood and the glucose level under the skin, so you may still need to do finger-prick tests before deciding on an insulin dose or when treating a hypo. Glucose levels change most rapidly after eating or exercising. Flash glucose monitoring and CGM is usually only recommended for people with type 1 diabetes and availability and funding for these systems will vary; so seek guidance from your local healthcare provider.
HbA1c is your average blood glucose levels for the last 2-3 months. A high HbA1c result means that you have too much glucose in your blood. This is one of the diabetes care measures that you need to get at least once a year.