What are the Benefits of Keeping a Blood Sugar Diary?

Sheri Cyprus

Improved overall health can be a strong benefit of keeping a blood sugar diary. When people keep a record of their blood sugar, they typically bring it to their doctor's appointments. Physicians can then recommend treatment, tests or other health-related actions to help improve or maintain a patient's physical condition. Without such a record, treatment for any blood sugar problems may be delayed because they're likely to go unnoticed for a longer period of time. Other benefits of keeping a blood sugar diary are being able to identify health patterns and having a record to compare with diabetic or other tests.

Some people find it helpful to keep a blood sugar diary.
Some people find it helpful to keep a blood sugar diary.

For instance, since the A1C blood sugar test that is commonly administered regularly to diabetics produces the average reading over a three-month period, the diary can provide a more detailed daily account. Over time, a daily blood sugar diary is likely to give patients a good idea of what to expect on their A1C test. Whether a handwritten record of blood sugar is kept or a separate computer file with the readings is maintained, the information taken at different times of the day can be brought to family doctors as well as endocrinologists and dietitians. Usually, they require mainly the A1C test results, but for a dietitian especially, seeing which times of the day blood sugar tends to be low or high in a particular patient can often help them plan the best meals and snacks for that person.

Seeing patterns such as higher sugars in the mornings and lower in the evenings can also help patients plan and organize their daily diet better. A blood sugar diary can also have the benefit of helping diabetics decide the best time in their day to exercise. Exercise can lower blood sugar levels, while high carbohydrate foods may cause a spike, or rapid raise, in them. By taking and recording blood sugar readings upon waking in the morning and about two hours after any meal or snack in a particular day, diabetics can more easily learn which foods are likely to cause spiking.

Many doctors and diabetes specialists appreciate patients bringing their blood sugar diary to appointments. The benefits of doing this for patients can include medical professionals understanding that they really are serious about monitoring and controlling their blood sugar levels. For diabetics, whether they are type 1 or 2, regular blood sugar monitoring, as opposed to an irregular approach, is crucial for good health. Blood sugar diaries have the benefit of helping patients remember to fill in their readings — especially when the record is kept with their testing device.

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