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Practice makes near perfect at bedtime

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October 27, 2016
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On "Becoming Obsessive"

I especially took issue with one commenter to this post who said those of us checking our sugar "that often" need to see a shrink. By checking "that often" our sugars are more likely in check than not.

While I don't always follow this advice, I believe -- and doctors advise -- that if you take fast-acting insulin you should test your blood sugar a minimum of six times a day. That would be fasting, after breakfast, before and after lunch, and before and after dinner. If you test only after meals, then you may over- or under-bolus for a meal. I believe the same principles apply for those who take only long-acting insulin.

The objective is to watch for patterns, to see how your body reacts to certain foods and activities. If you don't test your sugar often -- at the absolute bare minimum of fasting and after every meal -- then how can you truly have an accurate picture of what's going on in your body?

I think there is almost always a need to check your sugar -- post meal, pre-meal, watching for a high to come down, watching for a low to come up, before bed to make sure you're not too low to go to sleep among other highly needed checks.

You're right, not all of us eat right all the time and not all of us trust our bodies to do what we think it will do all the time, which is yet another compelling argument to check your sugar often, to be your version of obsessive.

Some commenters took offense to the term "obsessive." No matter which way I think about this, I think we have to be some version of obsessive. Not to the point where we focus only on blood sugar testing and it makes us crazy, but definitely to the point where we have a clear understanding of what's going on. And if that means testing 15 days a day, then so be it. How else can you be proactive about getting and keeping a healthy A1C and preventing potential complications?

Ideally, at a minimum, I would check: fasting, after breakfast, before and after lunch, before and after dinner, bedtime, before driving. That's a minimum of 8 tests per day assuming my only driving is to and from work. I often test mid-morning and mid-afternoon just to get a sense of where I am. That puts me at 9 or 10 tests per day.


And then there's extra testing if you exercise or just walk around the grocery store or wrestle with the kids. There's always a need to know where your sugar is.


Does all that testing qualify me to see a shrink? I don't think so.

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