I should be testing how many times?

I've been testing like 12 times a day. My nurse just told me on the phone I should never test more than 4 times. WHAT? How am I gonna know what the food's doing to my sugar levels if I don't test 2 hours after?
I don't know what to do.
How many times does everybody else test?

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I test 8x aday sometimes more if I need to… When I’m sick I check my blood sugar every hour because my doctor wants to know how i’m doing… plus I check for keytones too…

Never? Not even when you’re sick? Sounds like some pretty irresponsible advice to me!

I test 7-10 times a day usually and up to 20 if I’m sick or something.

OMG, don’t listen to her. Is this an endo’s nurse? Turn her into the MD, now!!!

I test 6-8 times a day, sometimes more. For sure you need to test before you eat and 2 hours after, so right there that is 6 times and of course at bedtime, so you don’t bottom out during your sleep or correct your bgs if it is too high so you are not high all through the night.

I test about 6 times during the day and once at 2 a.m. But, don’t just test to get a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper. If the information helps, then do it.
For example, I test mid morning to see how high my breakfast took me, but more so to see if I need to be particularly prepared for a hypo before lunch.
I think that nurse was a knothead.

I test minimum 4 times a day. Before each meal and before bedtime. On bad days where I am sick or having a lot of problems with my sugar I could be testing up to 10-12 times a day. When I start new insulin dosages or new meds, then I test before each meal and 2 hours after meals. That way I know what is going on with my body. I am in tune with my body now and a lot of times I can “feel” myself dropping to fast. My sugar will be within normal ranges when I test but I can feel it dropping, so then I keep a really really close eye on it. Do what feels right for your body and listen to what your body is telling you.

I just went to the doc for the first time last month. Because of my previous pregnancies; I’ve been aware of diabetes and testing. I requested for my prescription of test strips to be at least 6 times a day. He looked at me and asked why? I told him that I can test before and after meals to see what foods did for me. then, I can adjust what I eat next. It helps to lower my numbers. That nurse is a nut without a brain!!! GRRRR!
I’ll even buy my own strips if I go over what I asked for. As long as it helps me control diabetes instead of being controlled. Crud! My emotions over this are enough to deal with. Without any other aspect of this dis- ease that I must live with.
Take care and TEST,TEST,TEST. It is the only way you will learn what your body is trying to tell you.

First, I personally test 6-10 times per day, and I can tell you that my “control” improves with the frequency of my BG testing. However…

I do not necessarily believe that your nurse’s recommendation is unreasonable, and here’s why: most studies haven’t shown that there is any correlation between testing more than 4 times per day and improved outcomes. Before you bang your head on the wall because you can’t believe it, let me also say that in the real world of diabetes management, 4 times per day is MUCH more than most diabetics test their BG. Some studies have even defined frequent testing as once per day! Our view in the tudiabetes world, because we are all happy, compliant diabetics who stay on top of our health, is that frequency = good management. But the research, and subsequently the guidelines, do not necessarily reflect that. Four times per day is, for better or worse, more than most diabetics will ever test in a single day.

That said, it is my opinion that testing frequently is a good thing, and if you can, you should test more than 4 times per day. Test as many times a day as you need to gain control of your diabetes (that is, to keep your sugars “normal”).

Sorry for the long post!

good grief, there’s been nights where I’ve tested him 4 times, more during the day! I really can’t sit here and think how many times he gets tested but it’s sure a lot more than 4!


Do you have any websites where is states that testing 4 times a day is no better or worse than testing 6-10 times a day? I would like to read that information.

If you don’t test after a meal and your bgs is above a normal range at 2 hours, how would you know this, if you do not experience symptoms that your bgs is high, and if you did not test your bgs you would more than likely remain high until you tested for your next meal or even remain high until you test your suggested once per day.

How would you ever have the option to correct a high bgs and how by not testing could you have the same health benefits as if you had the option to take that high bgs back to normal range in a short amount of time. I am confused by your post.


Its not that testing 4 times per day is “better” (of course its not), its that for most diabetics 3 or more times per day is considered “frequent testing” in the literature.

For example, here is a link to the Mayo Clinic’s info page on Blood Sugar Monitoring which suggest Type I’s test “3 or more” times/day and Type II’s test once or less per day!. Here is a link to the dLife site where they mention the ADA Guidelines for BG testing as 3 times per day.

As far as how frequently most people test, here is a study that appeared in the journal Diabetes Care showing that among insulin dependant diabetics in the U.S. only, “40% monitored their blood glucose at least 1 time/day.”

Point is, you and I agree, Karen. I personally test before and after all of my meals, right when I wake up and right before bed. This is what I recommend.

What I was basically trying to say before, was that I understand why the nurse recommended 4 times per day; all of the studies and the American Diabetes Association recommend simply “3 or more times per day.”

Bottom line, its not the number of times you test that’s important, its how well you manage your entire lifestyle, and that’s what really improves your long term health.

I never keep track of how many times i test. I test when the doctor wants the results and then i test again if i feel i need to. Honestly I don’t think anyone is right or wrong here with how many times they test. Everyone’s body is different and you have to be able to read your body to know when to test. Only way you can learn.


Ah yes… I know them WELL, LOL! Nurse CDEs who were trained neigh on to 15, 20 years ago and still practicing! Virtually IGNORING standards of care and best practices in diabetes care that have, I hope, become standard by now. I have met two Nurse CDEs who fit this description, one online on a diabetes “support” chat who espouses the six BS test a day for children, who as we all know change rapidly due to growth hormones, and one when my sister switched endo practices to the one in town for convenience. I have a niece with Type 1 diagnosed at the age of 8. Our first endo told us to test: before breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snack (that’s four); at 12 midnight and 2 a.m. if possible (that’s now six); before and after exercise, and if she is exercising for two hours, one in the middle (that’s 9 or 10 or more, unless we sit the child on her keister all day). Add to that postprandial checks two hours after eating (we check lunch and dinner if problematic and it often is), so that would be 12 times a day. If low, check before, and after, that would then be 14 times. Comment from Nurse CDE at second practice when insurance company wanted to reduce her strips to six a day (this after being privy to her blood sugars which are extremely variable, and I am talking 20s and 50s at night out of the blue) “Ten strips a day! That’s ridiculous!” Comment from helpful nurse online “E is stuck with it, pardon the pun.” So I would strongly suggest to find a diabetes practice with an endo and Nurse CDE who is not just aware but actually FOLLOWING current trends. It’s your body, not theirs. It’s your responsibility to take care of yourself, not turn the power over to a nurse whose philosophy on diabetes care does not mesh with your own. Take charge! It is you and you alone who will suffer the consequences if what this person tells you is not accurate. Your instincts are correct, right on target. Do what we did. Find someone who agrees to help you take care of yourself.

I test between 8 - 12 times a day. on a slow day maybe 5 - 6 times, on a day with weird stuff happening I could end up testing 15 times!

Every day is different, and every person is different. I don’t believe any doc or nurse should ever make a comment like that. I know it’s unusual to find diabetics who look after themselves, but why must they pick on those of us who do, and support those who don’t?!

I’ve only recently won the battle to get more than 4 tests a day from my doctor! Thankfully he’s fine with it now and will give me as many as I need. It’s often a hassle though, and I think this is mostly because they have NO idea what good control really means.

I read a study that agreed with Tim’s comments - that frequent testing makes no improvement to control. I think the point there is that people who would normally test less are the ones that don’t deal with what they see anyway. If you test and find you’re high, you correct, right? If someone less interested / less well educated in D sees a high number, they just see it as a fact rather than something they can change. The key is in acting on the information, not getting the information itself.

You just carry on doing what you do, you know your body best, and you gotta do whatever you gotta do to keep on top of it!

Like everyone one else, I test on average 6-10 times a day. When I first started taking insulin, I got comments from family about being obsessed about it, when I was only testing 4 times a day. Since then, I’ve learned that the diabetes and your health is ultimately your responsibility alone, and so I do whatever is necessary to to make ME healthier. That means I test before and after meals, before & after exercise (especially if I drive home), sometimes late at night if I’m worried about lag effect, or just when I feel funny or low.

I know that insurance can be a real issue when it comes to paying for test strips. The most they will approve for type 2 is 100 per month. For me, they allow 250 per month. I think they also assume that people may test, but not act on the number, and it just becomes a logbook for the doctors to review. There is actually an article in Diabetes Health online about that phenomenon with type 2 diabetics, and the response they received form the online community that read it. the link is http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2007/09/06/5419.html.

I say if testing makes you feel healthier and safer while using insulin, then test! Remeber it is YOUR HEALTH/ YOUR LIFE!

I usually test about 8 times a day. Sometimes, though, circumstances call for more and it might be 15 times in a day. My first diabetes doc told me she wanted me testing 3 times per day. When I’d just been diagnosed type 1 and just started insulin! If I’d have followed her advice I would’ve been back in the hospital within a week. In my experience, sorry, but most nurses don’t know you-know-what about managing type 1. Even many docs. My primary care doc about keeled over when I told her sometimes I check up to 10 times a day. If we’re supposed to have good a1cs and not end up in the ER with DKA or a severe hypo, how would they suggest this is possible by testing less? For most of us it’s simply not possible. I really wish all docs and nurses could have type 1 (not just honeymoon phase, but making no insulin whatsoever) for about 1 month. Just so they could see what it’s like. I guarantee that no one would suggest testing 3 to 4 times a day then!!!

The decision is ultimately up to you but as you can see in the replies to your question, the average here seems to be in the 6-10 range. That is how often I test. Any testing is better than no testing but with that said, more frequent testing just means being more on top of your Diabetes management. I would probably ask that nurse, “what is the benefit of testing 4 times vs. 8-10 times per day?” If she can’t give you any valid reason why 4 times is better than 8 (other than saving money on test strips), then I would just dismiss her suggestion as just that: A suggestion.

4 times a day testing = managing with Diabetes
8+ times a day testing = taking control of your Diabetes

So the question is, do you just want to manage or do you want to take control?

Chris steps off his soapbox


4 times daily is a fairly standard “old school” recommendation for Diabetics. But “old school” Diabetics seldom were able to achieve the level of near-normal glucose control that many here are striving to achieve. Sometimes it takes a while (as in years) for Doctors, Nurses, CDE’s,and insurance companies to embrace the most recent techniques of Diabetic health care. What’s somewhat unique about Diabetes is that we, in a sense, are our own medical caregivers (making daily, or hourly adjustments to our own treatment regime) and many of us are way beyond the envelope of what many Doctors or Nurses would have considered a necessary level of treatment. It’s not that your Nurse is stupid, it’s just that he/she is ignorant of the kinds of good control many of us are now achieving with much more frequent testing.

I generally test 6 - 10 times a day and I also wear a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). Making any kind of adjustment to your care (that includes any: eating, insulin dose, or exercise) without testing is kind of like driving a windy country road blindfolded part of the time.


Well today didn’t go so great. I went down from my usual 12ish tests to so far only 6. and before lunch I don’t know quite how low I was, but I was low enough that I wasn’t thinking well enough to actually test. just to eat skittles. and after that I was still lowish so yeah. basically my friend was holding me up and telling me to eat now. which was kinda scary for me 'cause usually I test enough to be super prepared for any sneaky lows.
I think if I’m ill it’s an exception, but I don’t get sick much and that’s not happened since I was diagnosed.
At least it’s the weekend! I really need it!

The situation was I phoned her and told her all my blood sugars 'cause they were crazy high and wouldn’t come down and she said “you shouldn’t be testing that much! only test 4 times”.
I’m still honeymooning, not sure if that makes a difference…