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I hate testing! How many times do I really need to test my sugar?

That’s a very common feeling! A lot of people say they don’t mind injections as much as the fingersticks. Unfortunately, they are really, really important! In fact, they are essential to making the right dose decision.

Think about it. Regular blood glucose testing is the only way to know precisely what is happening with your blood glucose levels and make accurate decisions about your food, activity and insulin/medication choices. We cannot expect the same dose of insulin to work when the amount of food and activity changes - the insulin dose needs to change too.

A functioning pancreas would be able to sense the exact amount of glucose all the time – and respond accordingly. We have to use glucose meters, or continuous glucose sensing.

Right now traditional glucose testing and adjusting insulin doses is still the way to reach your target glucose and A1C levels. In the DCCT, 53 per cent of those in the conventional group only tested about once a day and their average A1C was 9 per cent. But 86 per cent of those in the intensive group tested at least 3 times day (67 per cent also tested @ 0300 once a week) to get their A1C to 7 per cent.

All other studies done since then confirm that the more often glucose testing is done the better! Karter (Diabetes Care, 2006) showed there was a benefit to the A1C of 0.3 per cent for each test done!!

In fact, CDA guidelines state quite clearly:

"Self Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG) is essential to achieve glycemic goals."

Frequency of testing should be determined on an individual basis. General frequency SMBG recommendations include:

  • persons with type 1 – at least 3 times a day
  • more frequent testing is required to make adjustments to match daily activity, food intake and medication.


So what are your testing habits?

Think about your blood testing habits. Where would you rate yourself in terms of testing on a scale of 1-10?



How would you describe your feelings about testing now?

I don’t need to test more.

I’m not going to change my habits now!

I don’t like doing as you told me.



I know I should test more; I’ll think about it.


"I might."

I’m ready to try to test more …. soon


"I will."

I’m working hard at doing testing regularly.


"I am."

I have been doing this for a while now. I’m able to do it well.

"I have been."

I’m not or I won’t... you either do not know enough about the problem or change needed or you don’t think you can or want to do anything about it.

Check out the research – learn the facts. There’s no question that you should test– and you can! But why do you WANT to skip testing more than you test? What would the benefits be if you did test? Are they more important than your reasons for not testing? If finances are a problem, ask your educator about the CDA Monitoring Assistance program.

I might, but… you know you should do something, but you are not ready to do it yet. You may not feel confident that you can do it. There are just too many reasons why not to test!

There are ways to help yourself get motivated! The reality is that we do things we really believe in – so look at what you really believe or feel about testing. Do the benefits outweigh the things you hate about testing – like it reminds you about having diabetes?

I’ll try…

You are ready to learn how to start making changes now. You are confident enough to try. Ask your team for help! Get the best equipment. Learn to make use of the results – don’t test in vain!