What is a Glucose Diary?

Malcolm Tatum

A glucose diary, also known as a diabetes journal, is a daily record of the intake of carbohydrates and their effect on blood glucose levels. While some diaries contain only basic information, there are formats that are quite detailed. Most physicians will recommend keeping some sort of glucose diary that at least serves as a daily record of blood sugar levels at one and two hour intervals after the consumption of food.

A person checking her blood glucose levels.
A person checking her blood glucose levels.

The basic glucose diary includes three types of information. First, there is the date of the entry. Next, the time of the entry is noted. As a last piece of information, the results of blood sugar testing using a quality glucose meter are logged into the record. While simple, this outline does make it possible to keep track of how often blood sugar levels are outside of acceptable ranges. This data can be very helpful in determining if a particular regimen of diet and exercise is managing the condition successfully, as well as gauge the efficacy of any oral medication that is taken to control the diabetes.

A glucose diary is also known as a diabetes journal.
A glucose diary is also known as a diabetes journal.

More detailed versions of the glucose diary are in common use. In addition to the three basic pieces of information already mentioned, a more comprehensive blood sugar journal will include details about what is consumed at each meal. The detail can be so precise that it mentions the amount of each food consumed during the course of the meal. Diabetics sometimes use this process to evaluate what type of blood sugar spikes are experienced after consuming different types of carbohydrates in varying amounts. By testing glucose levels at one hour and two hours after the meal, it is easier to determine what foods should be eaten in smaller portions or left off the daily menu altogether.

As a tool in the process of blood glucose regulation, a glucose diary can also be used to assess the effects of exercise on blood sugar levels. Just as testing takes place at specific intervals after a meal, the blood sugar diary can also be used to record glucose levels an hour and two hours after completing the exercise. This can help the individual engaged in blood glucose management to get an idea of what type of impact walking, biking, and engaging in contact sports has on glucose levels in terms of keeping them within a healthy range.

Many doctors supply patients with a basic glucose diary to get them started. However, there are software packages that make it possible to create electronic diaries as well. These diaries can be printed out to allow the user to make entries by hand, or can reside on a computer hard drive for easy data entry. As with most tools that are used to control blood sugar levels, a glucose diary is only as good as the effort that is put into keeping the journal accurate and up to date.

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