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Diabetes care in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire

Testing your blood glucose levels

It is vital to keep your blood glucose well under control once you are diagnosed with diabetes, whether this is Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes. With the treatment prescribed for you, your Dr and nurse will be aiming for your blood glucose levels to be as near normal as possible.

If your diabetes is not treated with insulin then the level of glucose in your blood is best checked by a blood test called the HbA1c. This gives an average of the level of glucose over the preceding 2-3 months. The target level is 48-58 mmol/mol (6.5-7.5%). Keeping your HbA1c at this level will mean that your risk of developing complications is kept to a minimum. Make sure you know what your HbA1c is!

If you are being treated with insulin to control your diabetes, you will need to check your blood glucose levels directly at home using a testing machine. Your GP or practice nurse will advise you how frequently you should do this, what equipment you will need and where to get this from. Testing your blood glucose simply involves pricking the side of your finger (not the pad of your finger) with a finger-pricking device and putting a drop of blood on a testing strip. A meter will read the result automatically.

A number of machines for blood testing/monitoring have a memory installed so your practice nurse and Doctor can call up the history of all blood tests you have done. Other meters require you to record your results yourself.  Testing machines recommended in west Berkshire are the TrueResult, TrueYou, and Aviva Expert (Aviva Expert is only for people with Type 1 diabetes who do carbohydrate counting)

You can read a lot more detail about blood glucose testing at home on many of the well known websites, for example:

DiabetesUK, Diabetes.co.uk

In addition to home blood glucose testing, if you are treated with insulin, you will also need to have the HbA1c blood test every few months.

More information about the HbA1c test is available for you to read on the following websites:

Patient.co.uk; DiabetesUK; Diabetes.co.uk