Modern blood sugar meters are great because they offer inside looks into your patterns and allow you to make changes to help reach your goals. Most healthcare providers and members of your diabetic care team simply don’t have the time available to take a look through all your blood sugar numbers and interpret all data. They have a long list of patients they see which makes it difficult to spend personalized time with everyone.
What this means is, it’s time for you to take a step into the spotlight and learn more about what your meter is actually telling you.Virtually all modern meters offer the ability to download content to a PC or even Mac system. They include a date and time stamp to each blood sugar level. This allows the software program for interpreting your data to develop charts, graphs and even general statistics about where your levels are. One thing you must make sure of, so that all data is accurate, is that you keep the date and time properly adjusted. Otherwise, your time schedule may be off. We’re going to take a look at what you can learn from your meter and how this can help your diabetes management.
Downloadable Data Accessories
Typically, each meter requires a data cable to ensure the proper download of all important blood sugar information. Most data cables are available free from the meter companies. If you are in need of the proper cord with your meter, you can contact the company directly by calling their toll free number. Below you will find some of the most common modern meters and the software they require.
|Meter Company||Meter Type||Software|
|Abbott||Freestyle and Precision||CoPilot Management System|
|Abbott||Insulinx||FreeStyle Auto Assist (Software built directly into the meter)|
|Bayer||Contour and Contour Next||Glucofacts Deluxe|
|Bayer||Contour USB||Software built directly into the meter|
|LifeScan||OneTouch and Verio||One Touch Diabetes Software|
|Nova BioMedical||NovaMax||Nova Diabetes Software|
|Sanofi Aventis||iBGStar||iBGStar app for the iPad and iPhone|
Reports and Data from the Downloaded Information
Each individual software package provides you with a unique set of data and information. Many allow you to even customize many important factors like a target blood sugar range as well as your meal and snack times. With all that data and various reports available from your meter, there are a couple that are really helpful.
Modal Day and the Standard Day reports help to provide a scatter graph of blood sugar levels which are arranged by the different times of the day. This will provide you with a summary of how your blood sugar control is through the day, especially at mealtimes.
Are you noticing many highs or even lows at a consistent time of the day?
Do each of your readings look scattered or do they look consistent. When you notice that blood sugar levels are above your target during a certain meal, there may be room to tighten up your blood sugar levels during that meal.
I advise reading the following:
Along with the above reports, the statistical data is also very helpful. They usually allow you to get an inside look into your average glucose values, and what percentage they are above or below your target levels. You should read through this data by looking at the times of day and what day of the week it is. Statistical data provides you with a detailed look into the progress you have made after adjustments are made.
Blood sugar trends can be a wonderful tool in helping to determine your blood sugar levels over a longer period of time. You can review the information in terms of days or even months. Looking through the information and paying special attention to the valleys and peaks can help to determine whether the current treatment regimen is in need of a change. Keeping track of additional activities can also help to give you a better look at why the trends are happening as well. Some meters even allow you to mark if the numbers are before you eat or after. This can also help you to determine how well your current treatment is working.
Logbook data provides you with a full picture of what your blood sugar readings are all day long. When you are reviewing this information you can learn more about trial and error and cause and effect. Take a look at your highs and lows. Do the highs come back down into your target range by your next reading or are they followed by lows? Do you notice that your blood sugar levels are falling when you are sleeping overnight?
If your meter allows you to input carb totals, activity levels, a dosage of insulin, then the logbook also can provide you with insight to allow you to fine tune your regimen.
High or Low Blood Sugar Data: What Do They Mean?
It’s not out of the ordinary to see blood sugar levels that are out of your target range. But when you start to notice a pattern of high or low blood sugar readings consistently outside of your range, you may want to start asking questions:
- What type of physical activity did you recently participate in?
- Did you forget any medications or have you been taking them at different times?
- Are you under any stress?
- Are you getting sick?
- Did you eat at the same time or have a meal off your normal routine?
All of these things can have an effect on your blood sugar levels. This allows you to gain a more detailed picture of what is really going on. With all the modern technology there are other ways to effectively manage your diabetes using the data you receive.
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There is virtually a mobile app for everything you do now a days. Mobile applications such as the Accu-Chek Connect App has the ability to automatically gather the data from your Accu-Chek Aviva Connect meter. You can also use the app to add in photos of your meals to help with estimating the total number of carbohydrates.
Another notable app for those with diabetes is the Glooko app which takes blood sugar information from your meter, to have all readings in an organized chart within a logbook on your smartphone.
MySugr logbook app works by collecting, viewing and analyzing your blood sugar data, total carbs, foods you consume and other pertinent information. Glucose Buddy is another app that helps to make sure you never forget to check your blood sugar. It does this through reminders and notifications. You can also use it to log in and track your levels, total carbs, insulin, medications and a1c levels.
There are many different mobile apps that can help you to manage your diabetes much more effectively. With all this information right at your fingertips, ensuring you stay up to date has never been easier.
Being a Functioning Pancreas
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, one thing you have in common is now you have been tasked with the job of a fully functioning pancreas. I’ll be the first to admit that this job is difficult and sometimes seems downright impossible. But while these challenges may sometimes overwhelm you, they don’t have to. With all this information and available mobile technology, keeping track of your blood sugar readings is easier than ever before. Not only does all this data help you to spot trends or places where changes may need to be made, but it can be beneficial to share the same data with your doctor and diabetic care team. They may be able to provide you with a fresh set of eyes that may see something you are unable to in the moment.
Work with your care team to determine the best possible treatment options. Learning how to read through your blood sugar information can really help you when it comes to your next appointment. This shows the doctor you have taken a step in the right direction with your diabetes care.
Being a patient who listens to everything their doctor says is one thing, but because diabetes is so unpredictable and never takes vacations, being a patient who works diligently to learn more about their conditions is something that will allow you to gain the best success in treating your diabetes.
Make sure to download our diabetes starter guide for more information.