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A blood sugar chart is a simple to read table that indicates normal blood glucose ranges when taken at various times throughout the day. Generally this includes a morning range before eating breakfast; ranges for two hours after a meal, called post-prandial; and a bedtime range. Some charts provide additional time frames as well as additional ranges for pre-diabetic and diabetic patients. A person can use a blood sugar chart to compare his own glucose readings to the normal ranges in the chart and determine whether his current treatment plan is effective in keeping blood sugar stable. The blood sugar chart also helps diabetic patients plan the content of their future meals based on whether their own readings are high, low, or within normal range.
For a person with diabetes, one of the most important goals of treatment is to manage blood glucose levels and maintain them as close to normal range as possible. When glucose remains too high or too low for an extended period of time, significant long-term medical issues can arise, including damage to eyes, kidneys, and the nerves of the hands and feet. Rapid fluctuations in blood sugar can also cause problems like fatigue and irritability in the short-term. Monitoring blood glucose by using a test meter several times a day is the best way for an individual to track exactly what is happening with his blood sugar. By frequently comparing glucose readings to a standard blood sugar chart, a patient can track patterns and identify problems to address at his next doctor's appointment.
Generally, glucose testing should be done three or more times a day, normally before or after meals and at bedtime. Individual patients may receive more specific instructions from their doctor regarding when to check their blood sugar. Anyone with diabetes should work with his doctor to determine patterns in his own readings and identify what types of food or activities cause undesirable spikes in blood sugar. Based on these patterns, day-to-day adjustments to food intake may be enough to stabilize blood sugar. In other cases, the doctor may determine that a change in medication is necessary to gain better control.
When a person is initially diagnosed with diabetes, the doctor usually gives them a packet with educational materials; a blood sugar chart is often included in these materials. "Standard" blood sugar charts available on the Internet are not always standard, and the ranges may vary from one chart to the next. If using a chart found on the Internet, it is important that a patient show the chart to his doctor to ensure that it has the appropriate ranges for the patient. It is highly recommended that patients also keep a log of their personal blood sugar readings over several days or weeks to show to their doctor. The current treatment plan can be evaluated and adjusted based on the patient's individual blood glucose patterns and goals.