So, you are new to type 2 diabetes? “Congratulations” is certainly not the first thing that pops to mind, BUT it is important to take a deep breath and know that you are not alone.

You have come to the right place and the new Succeeding in Your First 30 Days with Type 2 Diabetes guide on the website will help you navigate through the first month of everything to do with diabetes management.

While that wonderful guide goes into great detail regarding many topics, these blogs are meant to give you starting point. Let us begin with blood glucose monitoring.

The first question is: “Do I need to test”?  The most likely answer is, “yes, at least at a certain time to figure out how to control your diabetes.” If you are taking medications or insulin for diabetes, your healthcare provider may ask you to test more often. If you are not taking medications, testing can still be a great way to figure out how the foods you eat affect your blood sugar.  

The American Diabetes Association recommends the following blood sugar levels:
Before meals: <130 mg/dL
1-2 hours after the beginning of meals: <180 mg/dL

Many diabetes educators may ask someone to test once per day, but rotate that time. For example, I ask many type 2 patients I see to start by testing before meals, starting with the first day before breakfast, then the next day before lunch, the next day before dinner, and the next day before bedtime. If those blood sugars are <130 mg/dL, then they can choose one per day and test after the meal. For those meals, I usually ask them to write down what they ate so we will have some context to the result and then we can problem solve and make adjustments to the meal plan, if needed.

Next, you need to find a blood glucose monitor (meter). All insurance companies cover meters and blood glucose test strips, but the type depends on the insurance company.  

There are a lot of meters to choose from, so it will depend on what your insurance covers. But, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
1) Do I have trouble seeing?
2) Do I have trouble holding small things?
3) Does my provider need to download the meter every time I go to an appointment or will I be expected to write everything down in a logbook?

The answers to these questions will dictate the type of meter you choose. If you need larger font, backlighting, or larger sized meters, there is a meter that will meet those needs. For those with visual impairments, there are also talking meters available.

While a diabetes educator can be extremely helpful with choosing the right one for you, many pharmacies have a wide selection on display. Depending upon the area of the country you live in, the American Diabetes Association conducts ADA Expos around the country where many meter companies exhibit and display their products for you to see and try. [Check out this link to see the upcoming ADA Expo schedule.]

If you have Medicare, you can also choose from a wide variety of meters, but in order for the test strips to be covered, the prescription MUST be written and brought to a local or chain pharmacy, not a mail order pharmacy. Once you know which meter is covered, you can check out meters' websites since many of them do offer a free meter.

Regardless of the meter you choose, there is support in a number of ways. Since you may not be seeing a diabetes educator right away, most pharmacists can help with the setup. However, there is an 1-800 number on the back of every blood glucose meter and that is their support line, many of which have 24 hour coverage. So, this is the best place to get the most up-to-date and accurate information about the meter you use.  

Remember, you are not alone on this journey. Be sure to ask questions and use all the resources available to you in order to remain successful in managing your diabetes!

To learn more about glucose monitoring, read DiabetesCare.net's Succeeding in Your First 30 Days with Type 2 Diabetes guide by going here.