Pharmacy Corner
Diabetes: self-monitoring blood glucose & things to watch out for Monitoring your blood sugars at home

What should my blood sugar level be when I test it with my meter?

Before discussing how often someone should be checking their blood sugars, it is important that you know what your blood sugar levels should be (Table 2).

These targets for blood sugars are set to help you manage your diabetes. At the same time, good control of your blood sugars protects you from problems down the road. Long-term high blood sugars are very dangerous and can lead to problems such as kidney disease, vision loss, and amputations.2,4

Tip

Tip: Keep a log of your blood sugar readings and bring this to every clinic visit. Whenever there’s a reading outside of your target range, note down what happened before that reading, e.g. exercise, big meal, etc. By keeping track of your blood sugar, you are in charge of your diabetes!

Talk to your family doctor, pharmacist, or diabetes nurse to discuss what your targets should be.

Table 2. Blood sugar targets for most people with diabetes. Note: these targets cam be different for pregnant women, children and very elderly people with diabetes may have different targets.4
Time of testingTarget range (mmol/L)
Fasting (before meal)4.0-7.0
After meal5.0-10.0
After meal (more strict)5.0-8.0

How often should I be checking my blood sugars?

The short answer is: it depends.

Everyone is different and how often you should test your blood sugar depends on you and what you are using to control your diabetes. With that being said, there are situations in which you should check your blood sugars daily. Some of these situations are listed below5:

  • Using any sort of insulin for your diabetes
  • Starting a new diabetes medication or any recent changes to medications
  • if you are pregnant
  • When you are sick or taking medications that can raise your blood sugar
  • Just been diagnosed with diabetes

If you have diabetes and are NOT using insulin, and your blood sugars are well controlled then you normally don’t have to test your sugars every day. Some experts recommend that these people test about 2-3 times per week.4

Tip

Tip: The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) has helpful tool online to assess how often you should be checking your blood sugars. Access it here.

Everyone with diabetes is unique. Talk to your family doctor, pharmacist or diabetes nurse to discuss how often you should be checking your blood sugars.