Daily Testing

Daily Testing for Type 1 Diabetes

Daily monitoring of blood glucose is an essential aspect of managing type 1 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent people with type 2 diabetes test their blood at least three times a day. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, your diabetes educator will explain the testing process and help you plan a testing routine. When to test is something the patient and care team work out together, depending on a person’s age, activity level, general health, and other factors.

Some common testing situations include:

  • Before each meal
  • 1 or 2 hours after a meal
  • Before a snack
  • In the middle of the night
  • Before exercising
  • During and after physical activity
  • If you think your blood sugar may be high, low, or dropping
  • When you're sick or under stress

Your doctor will set your blood glucose target based on the following factors:

  • How long you have had diabetes
  • Age
  • Hypoglycemic events and awareness

A1C Testing

Once a person has been diagnosed, their doctor will periodically prescribe an A1C test to determine the level of blood sugar control. This blood test provides information about a person’s average blood sugar levels over the three months preceding the test. An A1C test result is reported as a percentage.

Ketone Testing

Ketones are chemicals the body produces when there isn’t enough insulin in the blood and the body starts using fat for energy instead of glucose. This is more likely to occur in type 1 diabetes than in type 2. Ketones upset the chemical balance of your blood and are toxic to the body. Combined with high blood glucose, ketones in the blood are a sign of poorly managed diabetes. Ketones can be detected through a simple urine test you can buy at the pharmacy. Talk to your doctor at once if your urine results show moderate to large amounts of ketones.

Signs of Elevated Ketone Levels

  • Blood glucose of more than 300 mg/dl
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or abdominal pain
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Thirst and dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Breathing difficulties
  • A strange, fruity breath odor
  • Feeling confused or "in a fog"


  1. ADA: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/