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 sources of energy. As a result, food sugar (glucose) builds up in the blood. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can damage 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 maintain a healthy blood sugar (blood glucose) level and slow or prevent kidney damage. Test your blood glucose level as often as directed. Talk with your healthcare provider if your glucose level is often under 80 or above 200.

Test your glucose

  • 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 lancet. Squeeze your finger gently until you get enough blood. If you are unable to 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 glucose

If your glucose is too low, you may get a headache or feel hungry, weak, shaky, dizzy, sweaty, or nervous. Check your glucose level. If it is too low, do the following:

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

  • If you’re not feeling better in 15 minutes, test your glucose again.

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

  • Once your blood sugar is back in the normal range, have a healthy snack 

Too much glucose

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 is too high, do the following:

  • 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.