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How do you test for hypoglycemia and blood glucose levels at home
To do the home test for hypoglycemia, one must first rule out a serious cause such as an insulinoma (a tumor of the pancreas that causes the production of too much insulin) or other rare condition or disease, such as tumors of the peritoneum, adrenal insufficiency, kidney failure, or congestive heart failure. The best way to determine if hypoglycemia is present is to have you test your own blood sugar levels at home, first thing in the morning, so you know what your blood sugar level is when you wake up.
How to test for blood sugar levels at home
You test your blood sugar levels at home with a small machine called a glucose meter. You can buy this from a drug store or get it from your physicianâ€™s office. To test your sugar you need three things: a meter, strips to put into the meter to measure your blood sugar, and a lancing device to poke your finger for blood. To measure your sugar you prick your finger, which produces a drop of blood which you place on the glucose strip that is inserted into the meter.
Usually it takes only five to twenty seconds to get the blood sugar levels reading. Your physician or educator can help you choose a meter and teach you how to use it correctly. Instructions for use also come inside the meter box, as does a lancet and a small number of strips. If the blood sugar level is below 60 dl first thing in the morning it could be a sign of a more serious type of hypoglycemia.
To test your blood sugar levels at home you need three things: a meter; strips to put into the meter to measure your blood sugar; and a Lancing device to poke your finger for blood.
You would also test your blood whenever you had symptoms of a low blood sugar reactionâ€”which often happens after eating a high carbohydrate meal. Additionally, youâ€™d test one or two times during the day when you donâ€™t have symptoms, say every day at four PM or at noon.
This way, you learn what your blood sugars usually are. Keep a written data log, starting with writing down what your symptoms are and only then testing your blood sugar levels. Sometimes seeing a number that is low can make us think we are having symptoms of hypoglycemia when we are not. So writing down your symptoms before you test your blood sugar levels is the way to best tell if your symptoms are due to your blood sugar levels or not.
How do you test for hypoglycemia?
After a patient tests sugars for a week or two, I look at the written results and I can say whether you have hypoglycemia. If the morning blood sugar level was below 60 or if it was below 50 throughout the day, I will probably test for more serious causes of hypoglycemia, such as for the tumors mentioned earlier. If the patientâ€™s blood sugar levels were higher, or the symptoms less severe, I will probably prescribe treatment for carbohydrate-sensitive hypoglycemia. This would include following a good prediabetes diet meal plan.
In all cases, I would test for prediabetes and diabetes even though hypoglycemia is not always a symptom of prediabetes or diabetes. This would entail a fasting sugar level, fasting lipids, and a chemistry panel that includes kidney and liver function tests as well as thyroid function tests. These tests would be helpful not only in assessing whether or not there is prediabetes or insulin resistance, but also whether there are any kidney or liver abnormalities, both of which can cause low blood sugar reactions.