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What is the primary purpose of blood glucose monitoring?

      For me to look for patterns  
  29%   228  
      For me to decide what dose to give  
  60%   471  
      For use by my diabetes team  
  3%   28  
      I don't know  
  1%   10  
      I don't monitor blood glucose levels  
  2%   18  
  2%   18  

What is the primary purpose of blood glucose monitoring?

Poll dates: January 21 - 28, 2001
Total Votes: 773

29% of respondents report using blood glucose monitoring primarily to look for patterns. This is exactly how blood glucose results should be used, even though 60% use monitoring to decide what insulin dose to give. Assuming those individuals meant that they use the current number to decide the current dose, caution needs to be exercised in routinely doing this.

Whenever a blood glucose level is checked, it reflects the effects of insulin given hours earlier. Pre-meal blood sugar levels depict the action of intermediate-acting insulin (NPH or Lente), long-acting insulin (Ultralente or Lantus), or the basal insulin delivered through an insulin pump. This phenomenon is especially true of the pre-breakfast and pre-dinner blood sugar values.

Adequacy of Regular insulin is monitored by pre-lunch and bedtime blood glucose values. With the new fast-acting insulin analogs (Humalog and NovoLog), only blood sugars obtained two hours after the meal will suffice to help ascertain correct dose adjustments. Inadequate doses should then be changed at the same time on the following day, not at the next meal, since insulin sensitivity is variable at different times of day.

Chasing high blood sugars with extra insulin or omitting insulin because a blood sugar is low is a common practice that should be utilized only infrequently because it is impossible to tell from a single number if the level is rising or falling. Therefore, there is a good chance that the wrong decision will be made about what to do.

It is much better to look for patterns over the course of a few days and then make adjustments in the correct insulin


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Last Updated: Wednesday March 16, 2005 16:36:48
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