Blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are monitored to check for prediabetes or diabetes; to monitor treatment of diabetes; to check for hypoglycemia; and to check for gestational diabetes, which is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, according to WebMD. Glucose is the primary energy source for the body, and it comes from carbohydrate foods.
People with diabetes test glucose levels regularly because it allows them to manage a treatment plan and prevent long-term complications, notes Mayo Clinic. It also keeps them informed when blood sugar levels are too high or too low. Testing blood glucose levels allows the person with diabetes to determine the effects of factors such as stress, health problems, exercise and diet, and it also provides insight as to how diabetes medications affect blood glucose levels.
The most common way to test blood glucose levels is to place a drop of blood on a testing strip and test the strip with a small electronic device called a glucose meter, states Mayo Clinic. The frequency of testing varies depending on the treatment plan and whether it is Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Target results vary based on factors such as age, type of diabetes, severity of diabetes and how long the disease has been present. Ideal levels also vary based on diabetes complications, overall health and other existing medical conditions.