What’s The Best Time to Check Your Blood Sugar?

Published on 
June 18, 2024
April 9, 2024
Virta Health
Virta Health
Virta Health

When it comes to managing your metabolic health, knowledge is power. Understanding and tracking your blood sugar levels can help you see what does and doesn’t work when it comes to managing your type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or gestational diabetes. 

Just ask Virta member Matt, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when he was just 17. At one point, his A1C hovered around 9% despite him taking significant amounts of diabetes medications. Once Matt joined Virta, though, he learned how his blood sugar was being  impacted by his dietary choices. Since then, Matt’s lost 43 pounds. Now, he even brags to his wife how low his blood sugar levels are.  

But is there a best time to check your blood sugar for type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, or prediabetes? Here’s what you need to know.

When should I check my blood sugar?

The best time to check blood sugar will vary depending on your unique circumstances. 

Ideally, you should switch it up. Changing the times when you test your blood sugar can help your healthcare team get a better picture of your blood glucose levels throughout the day. However, if it’s easier to remember to test at one particular time each day, that’s OK too.

You don’t have to be super-strict about when you test, though the following times can be good guideposts for developing a routine:

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, testing your blood glucose daily is important. If you have prediabetes or obesity, it’s not as critical to test your blood glucose throughout the day — HbA1c is likely the best indicator of your glucose control. HbA1c stands for hemoglobin A1C and is a blood test to determine the percentage of red blood cells that have blood sugar attached to them. The higher the number, the more likely you are to have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

How often should I check my blood sugar?

How often you check your blood sugar can depend on your medications. If you aren’t on insulin or sulfonylureas, checking your glucose once a day is usually what’s recommended to Virta members.

If you take insulin to manage type 2 diabetes, particularly if you take multiple doses per day, you may need to check up to four times per day.

What’s the ideal blood sugar target range?

Your blood sugar target range is personalized to you. Your doctor may recommend certain targets for your fasting glucose, which is your blood sugar level after you wake up in the morning before you eat anyuthing. They may also have a recommended target range for your levels just before you go to bed at night.

Your doctor can tell you your ideal target range based on:

  • Your age
  • Your life expectancy
  • How long you’ve had diabetes
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon
  • If you have conditions that impact your blood sugar levels
  • If you have diabetes-related complications, such as retinopathy, nephropathy or neuropathy
  • If you have heart disease

According to the American Diabetes Association, the following can be helpful targets for adults who have diabetes and are not pregnant:

  • 80 to 130 mg/dL prior to a meal.
  • Less than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after a meal.

The Takeaway

There is no one “best time” to check your blood sugar. The most important time is to find a time (or multiple times per day) that works for you.

If you need help figuring out the ideal schedule, a Virta Health coach may be able to help you gain new insights on your metabolic health. By making healthy lifestyle changes in a medical setting with supportive resources like 1:1 virtual coaching, you can regain control of your health and feel like yourself again. See if you’re eligible for Virta Health here.

This blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any advice relating to your health. View full disclaimer

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