Why Do I Need to Check My Blood
Sugars Daily?

Control is our Goal!

Keeping track of blood sugars is not only important for your health care team but also for you as a patient. Blood sugars can fluctuate without you knowing. So, if we aren’t checking them daily, how do we know if our diabetes is progressing faster than normal?

Controlling daily blood sugars isn’t as easy as it may seem. Blood sugars are affected by medications,dietary input, physical activity, illness, pain, traveling, stress, and day to day living. We are never 100 percent in control of all these activities. However, they are part of life that changes minute by minute. We need to keep juggling all these aspects and keeping them in balance by constantly paying some attention to each of these areas.

What do we learn from daily blood sugars? Your health professionals can determine if your treatment plan is the best and most efficient for you. That is important as everyone is different and diabetes affects each differently. Diabetes specialists know which medications may be more effective for which patients, but it is usually guided by what the daily blood sugars are.

There is a lot that patients can learn from their daily blood sugars. Many patients stop checking their blood sugars because their numbers are too high and they get frustrated. That is understandable, but instead of ignoring those numbers, call your health professional and make an appointment to discuss what can be done to encourage better glycemic control.

Checking the morning blood sugars can help us understand how active your liver is in overnight production of sugar to fuel the body.The most important blood sugar for patients to check is 2 hours after the beginning of one meal. Our goal for good control is <140 mg/dl. This can tell us how the food we ate at the previous meal is being handled by the body, how active the pancreas is in producing insulin, and if we ate something (regular soda, fruit juice, ice cream, large portions) that influenced the upward trend of the blood sugar.

Always take the log of your blood sugars to all health professional visits. Discuss the numbers with the professional to make decisions as to what to do differently to improve your numbers. Remember Control is the Goal!

Susan Smith, Ph.D., CDE, is a nationally Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a specialist in the field of diabetes since 1988. Since 2002 she has worked with patients individually through all of the physicians in internal medicine and family practice at Visalia Medical Clinic. ssmith@vmchealth.com



Susan Smith, Ph.D., CDE, is a nationally Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a specialist in the field
of diabetes since 1988.

Since 2002 she has worked with patients individually through all of the internal medicine and family
practice providers at Visalia Medical Clinic.

Type 1 diabetes occurs most frequently in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5-10% of all diabetes in the United States. There does appear to be a genetic component to Type 1 diabetes, but the cause has yet to be identified.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common and accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes. Type 2 diabetes primarily affects adults, however recently Type 2 has begun developing in children. There is a strong correlation between Type 2 diabetes, physical inactivity and obesity. People with Type 2 diabetes may hear their condition described as “mild,” but Type 2 diabetes is not a “mild” medical condition.


Diabetes and foot care

Jeffrey Hagen, DPM, is Board-certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.  He is especially interested in running/athletic injuries, reconstructive foot and ankle surgery and prevention of diabetic complications.

Uncontrolled diabetes causes damage all over the body and can lead to nerve and circulatory damage to the feet and lower legs. In fact, about 73,000 amputations were performed in the U.S. in one year alone due to uncontrolled diabetes.

Dr. Hagen works closely with VMC’s certified diabetes educator Susan Smith, Ph.D. to help patients maintain healthy control of diabetes and avoid complications of the feet. Dr. Hagen is now accepting new patients.


What are the symptoms of diabetes?

  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Slow-healing cuts
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Rapid weight loss (Type 1 diabetes)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet

If you experience more than one of these symptoms, make an appointment with your primary care provider.

Symptoms may occur rapidly with Type 1 diabetes; however, with Type 2 diabetes the onset is more insidious and may not be noticed.

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Through a blood test measuring your blood glucose level. Usually these tests are repeated to confirm the diagnosis.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, what should you do?

  • Request a referral to a certified diabetes educator and/or a dietitian
  • Obtain a prescription for a glucometer and testing supplies
  • Begin to make lifestyle changes
  • Begin an exercise program
  • Decrease portion size
  • Make healthy food choices
  • Limit your intake of concentrated sweets
  • Increase your fiber intake
  • Test your blood sugar at varying times of
    the day