Glucose is one of the most important biomarkers of our health and our lifestyle. It’s directly correlated to the food that we eat as well as the stress that we’re under and if you spend a lot of time sedentary or sitting a desk all day, that also can increase your blood glucose over time. Tracking glucose is especially important for individuals with pre-diabetes and diabetes because these diseases are characterized by abnormal glucose metabolism.
People’s blood sugar goals vary a lot. For some people, we like blood sugars to be as close to normal as possible. But other people – especially people who are older, have other medical problems, are taking a lot of other medications – we’re happy with their blood sugars being a little bit higher. The whole purpose of controlling blood sugar is to prevent long term complications. What happens on a day-to-day basis doesn’t matter as much as what happens long term. Younger, healthier people can have lower blood sugar goals. As people age, we back off a little bit on what those goals can be. If you have diabetes, you really need to talk to your doctor about what those goals should be.
Many people with diabetes need to check their blood sugar on a regular basis because it allows us to identify trends and adjust medications to improve blood sugars. It really depends on the medications you’re taking whether or not you need to check your blood sugar. For example, there are a lot of medications for type 2 diabetes where you probably never have to check your blood sugar at all. Whether your blood sugar is checked needs to be individualized – you need to talk to your diabetes provider to figure out if it would help you at all. On the other hand, people who are taking insulin do need to check their blood sugar because there are a lot of different doses of insulin and we just can’t adjust those doses without having some information about what the blood sugar is doing. If you’re only taking one injection of insulin a day (like many people with type 2 diabetes) you might be okay just checking your blood sugar once or twice a day. On the other hand, people with type 1 diabetes who are taking 3 or 4 injections a day or using a pump, it might be necessary for you to check your blood sugar 4, 5, or even more times a day. It really depends on what treatment you have, whether or not you should check your blood sugar.
Sometimes people wonder if menstrual periods or menopause can affect their blood sugar control. The answer to that is – well, sure, maybe. The fact is that so many things can affect blood sugar control: whether you’re stressed, sick, didn’t get enough sleep that night, ate a lot, exercised a lot, etc. There are so many things that can affect your blood sugar that something like menstrual periods and menopause are just on a long list of things that can contribute. Everyone’s body will respond a little differently and it’s certainly important to keep an eye on trends to see if you can detect a pattern of a blood sugar change because of menopause or menstrual periods – it’s going to depend a lot from patient to patient.
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