Tracking Your Test Results
Your test results are most useful if you view them in the context of the rest of your day. Log your readings, along with your medications, insulin, food intake, exercise, and other significant events. Over time, patterns will emerge, and you will probably discover certain triggers that make your blood glucose levels fluctuate. Your doctor and diabetes educator can help you interpret the data even further.
Some glucose monitors have memory features that allow you to store several weeks' or even months' worth of readings, compute averages, and indicate which readings occurred in conjunction with an insulin shot. These can also be helpful in detecting patterns.
Many monitors come with a logbook for recording the results, but a notebook will do the job just as well. When recording your readings, make sure you note the time of the test (i.e., preprandial/postprandial) and the time and amount of medication and/or insulin taken. For an even more complete picture of what's happening with your blood glucose levels, you can also note what you eat at each meal.
The sample logbook shown here includes entry spaces for before-meal (preprandial) and after-meal (postprandial) blood glucose results, plus a space to record the carbs consumed in each meal and the accompanying insulin dose or mixed dose (if applicable). There's also a space for bedtime and snack test readings. Finally, a comments area is available for notes on special circumstances that may have affected your blood sugar that day, such as exercise, specific foods, and illness.
Always record your glucose readings in a logbook, along with medication, food intake, and other important treatment notes.
Logbooks come in many configurations, and may also include space for checking off oral medication doses, a record of food intake for each meal, and detailed information on daily exercise. Try out a few formats until you find one that works well for you.
An increasing number of meter manufacturers are putting out monitors with companion software that analyzes glucose readings for both patients and their doctors. This software can be an excellent tool for charting long-term progress of glucose control, especially if it has the ability to generate printable reports and charts, and to graph trends. Often, a special cable is required for connecting the meter to your computer and downloading data.
You can also purchase third-party software to track and analyze your blood glucose readings, or subscribe to one of the many online logging programs available on the Internet. Some programs will also record related information like blood pressure readings, cholesterol levels, carbohydrate intake, and more.
Another new trend is the advent of blood glucose monitor modules that can be used with personal data assistants (PDAs) and mobile devices. These have the added advantage of being integrated into a device that users are already familiar with and carry with them. They can also easily save and analyze data.