HealthSheets™


Managing Your Glucose Level for Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Man using lancet on finger. Glucometer and test strips are on table.

Diabetes makes your body less able to use the foods you eat as energy. This causes sugar (glucose) to build up in the blood. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can harm your blood vessels and kidneys. The amount of food you eat each day should match the amount of energy your body needs. The best way to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level is through diet, exercise, and medicines. Follow a strict diet for diabetes, exercise regularly, and take medicines as directed. By managing diabetes, you can keep a healthy blood sugar level. This can slow or prevent kidney damage. Test your blood sugar level as often as directed. Talk with your healthcare provider if your blood sugar level is often under 80 or over 200.

Test your blood sugar

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dry them thoroughly.

  • Follow directions for placing a test strip in the meter.

  • Prick the side of your finger with a small needle (lancet). Squeeze your finger gently until you get enough blood. If you can't get enough blood, hold your hand down at your side and gently shake it.

  • Place a drop of blood on the test trip according to your meter’s instructions.

  • Read and record your results.

Too little blood sugar

If your blood sugar is too low, you may get a headache or feel hungry, weak, shaky, dizzy, sweaty, or nervous. Check your blood sugar level. If it's too low:

  • Eat a fast-acting sugar, such as 6 hard candies, 1/2 cup juice, or 3 to 4 glucose tablets.

  • Test your glucose again in 15 minutes.

  • If your glucose is still too low, eat another dose of fast-acting sugar. Seek medical help if you aren’t better after that.

  • Have a healthy snack once your blood sugar is back in the normal range 

Too much blood sugar

If your glucose is too high, you may feel thirsty, weak, dizzy, or nauseated. You may also have blurry vision or need to urinate often. Check your glucose level. If it's too high:

  • Drink a sugar-free liquid, such as water or diet soda.

  • Take extra insulin or medicine if your healthcare provider has told you to do so.

  • Call your healthcare provider if you are not feeling better within an hour.

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