A question of testing times

Hi everybody,

I’m hoping you can shed some light on the mystery of when to test your BG’s. My old, hateful endo had me testing two hours after eating only, my new, lovely endo says that’s only for pregnant ladies and I should be testing when I wake up, before eating, and at night. Of course the numbers have been better, which I love, but I can’t help feeling it’s only half the story. Maybe it’s the most important half?

I realize I can test before AND after meals (the beauty of free will and all), but I’m just looking for the general landscape of what others are doing. And validation that the old, hateful endo was as stupid as he was mean…

I test Tony when he wakes up, before lunch, before dinner, before his bedtime snack, and at 2 a.m.-these are the numbers that I chart for the endo’s. I do test him more often when he’s had exercise (before and after) or if he’s acting funnier than a toddler should or if he’s sick.

Its a bit of a tricky one… as you’re right in saying that there may be more to the story than meets the eye if you are only checking when you get up and before eating. However, on the flip side you don’t want to have to do it too much!

I’d recommend that its probably worth every once in a while to do a check 2 hours after your meals just to make sure that you’re not doing something terribly wrong… and if the readings appear to be in the right range then go back to your normal routine. Suppost it’s a bit of a case of fine tuning but reassuring at the same time.

For me - I’m struggling a bit currently with getting my levels back down within a good range so I’ve been testing a lot more than the normal routine. Once I hopefully get things back under control I’ll be going back to the same routine as you.

Hope this helps?

i’m instructed to test 4 times daily - before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner and at bedtime. when i was first diagnosed, i tested 2 hours after eating just to see what kind of effects certain foods will have on my bg. now that i can roughly gauge that, i only test post prandial once in a while, especially if i am eating something new.

i also test once before and twice after exercise, at intervals of half an hour. i do this so that i know how my bgs are affected by exercise, and also to detect hypos early especially if i do not exercise close to a designated mealtime. i also tend to test when i need to have a meal later than usual because i tend to go low easily that way. and of course, i test everytime i think i am feeling funny.

johnson & johnson has probably earned a lot of money from me because of all the test strips i order.

Well I am one of those who tests 10 times a day so I say “All of the above.” For years I did the four times a day routine, testing before each meal and bed. Since that is when you are probably giving yourself insulin, it is really important to test then, because it isn’t good to be dosing blindly. But lately there has been more evidence that those post prandial spikes can cause damage too, so it would be good to at least spot check those times.

You want to know how high you’re peaking to, but it’s not crucial- just interesting. I often test 3 hours later to make sure that I’m all the way back down, and that I’m not too far down, because I’m hypo unaware.
Testing before meals is infinitely more valuable IF you are a type 1 diabetic with no insulin resistance. You need to be able to calculate dosages of insulin.
If you have insulin resistance, or if the before meal numbers tend to run high and you need to troubleshoot, then testing before and after meals become important.
If you’re only doing one or the other, do the before meals.

How badly do you want to keep your retinas, feet, kidneys, etc?

If you don’t test after eating, you have no idea how high you are going and there is a ton of evidence supporting the finding that it is post-meal highs sustained for hours that damage organs.

Your doctor’s advice is scarily bad, though common. Just remember it isn’t HIS eyes, feet, kidneys that fail if his advice sucks.

I test before and afer any food, upon waking and at bedtime, and pre-driving. This typically amounts to 10-15 tests per day.

I would say what matters is how you’re using whatever information you gather. I test all those times to make changes, adjustments, and to know where I am and where I’m going at times I think are important. The information is helpful as I work to gain tighter control.

Like most everyone else, I test typically in the morning, before meals, bedtime and before exercise. I’ll test after a meal if I’m not sure about how that food will affect my blood sugar.

I test before and after meals, especially if I’m eating something new. I usually test one hour after, not two, because I used to spike high after eating but be back to normal by two hours. I have read that the fluctuation can be just as damaging as consistently high blood sugars, and it certainly made me feel horrible. I try to keep my blood sugar as close to the normal range as I can, including those two hours after eating. I need to test at an hour to find out what I can eat to stay in my target range.
By the way, for those doctors who assure you that it is OK and normal to spike to 160 or 180 after a meal, I have tested a few non-D friends and found that their BG only goes up about 20 points even after 100 grams of carbs! So that is what I aim for, a 20-30 point rise. This means I can only have really low carb meals but it is worth it to stay healthy. My A1C went down from 7.2 to 5.8 after I started testing for the post prandial spikes and avoiding them. My fasting and two hour numbers had always been in the normal range so it was definitely those two hours that made my A1C higher.

I test (or intend to test) when I wake up; before I eat; before I go to bed; before, during, and after any strenuous exercise; and before driving (if I haven’t tested recently). I test two hours after a meal if I’m eating something I’m unsure about or if I’m adjusting my insulin doses or even just to see sometimes.

If I were going to test either only before eating or only after, I’d go with before. When you get a high or low number after a meal, you need to know what it was before the meal to decide if it has anything to do with what you ate.

I used to be on the standard four times a day schedule, but I never discussed the numbers with my endo, and they didn’t make any sense to me. Now that I have a new endo, we actually do things based on those numbers, so I feel more motivated to test.

All the great insights i’ve had about diabetes management have come from myself. As someone else pointed out, it’s not your endo’s kidneys who are going to fail.

It’s not that you should disregard your endo, but once a person really commits to taking control of their diabetes they’ll probably soon realize they know the disease a lot more intimately than their endo ever will. That’s been my experience, in any case.

In response to your question, I test as necessary, typically 5-12 times daily.

I test 4x a day: I first get up before I eat breakfast, before I eat lunch, before I eat supper, and before I go to bed


If you only test before you eat, you have no idea how high the foods you eat are pushing your blood sugar. If I only tested before I ate and was eating a high carb diet I’d see lots of readings in the 120s, and figure I was doing great. If I tested 1 or 2 hours after eating those high carb foods, I’d see reading after reading over 250!

There’s accumulating evidence that it is the time spent way high that causes much of the damage to nerves etc, so it’s worth having a look.

Lots of good information in the comments here.
One of the main reasons I test after meals is to prevent a hypo before the next one.
For example, if 2 hours after breakfast I am at 130 or below, I know I’ll be scraping the bottom by lunch and either eat a little bit or else am particulary careful to watch for signs of a drop. If I’m at 170 or above, then I take a correction dose so that I’ll be on target by lunch time. If I’m in between, I will usually do nothing, unless I’d eaten somethng way different than usual.
This is the same with all of my meals.
I also test at 2 a.m. so I can see whether or not my dawn phenomenon is kicking in.
So for me, it’s not just testing to get a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper - it’s to get info that I can directly use to steer the rest of my day.

We test my son 10-12 times per day and at least once per night. We too test when he wakes up, before meals, 2 hours after meals and sometimes skip meals and test hourly for to check and see what is going on with his basal rates. I’m glad you switched endos… what a buffoon! It never ceases to amaze me that there are still doctors out there who have no idea of how to manage diabetes.

My son is 5. I test him before each meal and snack, before bedtime, and at least twice in the middle of the night. He averages about 10-12 tests per day. It’s more though, if he has a low or a high, high.

I’ve found that most doctors advice patients to test 4 times per day. That may be OK in the early stages (I can imagine how going from NOT having to test to having to do it 8-10 times per day can be yet another challenge newly diagnosed people have to face). However, I agree it’s fundamental to test:
-When you wake up;
-Before every meal;
-2 hours after meals (so that would be mid-morning, mid-noon, evening);
-Before bedtime;
-Before driving.

Now, the interesting challenge (one that I am going through right now) is to get insurance to pay for it (in the US). I just posted about this very topic on my page.

We check our daughter
Before breakfast @ 8:00 (right after she wakes up)
Before Lunch @ 12:00
Before Snack @ 3:00
Before Dinner @ 6:00
Before Bedtime @ 9:00
@ Midinight
@ 3:00am

And before and after any exercise or If I feel that she is not acting right.

Sara posted this video today and I thought it was very pertinent to this discussion: