How to Monitor Diabetes at Home

Regularly checking your blood sugar levels is essential to managing type 2 diabetes. You can test your blood at home using a monitor or meter. It’s important to watch for signs of high blood sugar.

This article will discuss how to monitor type 2 diabetes at home, the importance of regular blood sugar checks, and more.

Older man checking his blood glucose levels

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Why Monitor At Home?

Monitoring blood sugar at home with type 2 diabetes is vital to managing the condition. Regularly checking your blood sugar levels can help determine factors that may cause your levels to spike or dip.

Knowing your body's particular blood sugar patterns and trends will help you better manage your condition and keep your blood sugar in the target range. Doing so reduces the risk of diabetes complications.

Regular monitoring ensures you make your best choices regarding food, exercise, and other aspects of diabetes management.

Signs of Problems With Blood Sugar

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to several issues with one's blood sugar, and there are signs to look out for, including:


A glucometer is a small, portable device that measures blood sugar at home. These are also known as glucose meters.

There are two main types of glucometers:

  • Standard: Can check blood glucose at any time
  • Continuous: Monitors blood sugar at all times

Finger Prick

A finger prick is when you withdraw a blood sample via your fingertip. It's a common way people with type 2 diabetes test their blood glucose. Fingertip pricks can be painful compared to other body parts, such as the palm, which is why some people prefer alternative testing sites whenever possible.

Alternative Body Parts for Testing

Blood sugar can also be tested from alternative body parts, including:

  • Palm
  • Upper arm
  • Forearm
  • Thigh
  • Calf

However, sometimes you should not use an alternative testing site, sticking to a finger prick instead. Reasons against using alternative sites include:

  • If you have just taken insulin
  • If you're exercising or just finished a workout
  • If you're having symptoms of low blood sugar
  • If you're about to drive
  • If you're feeling sick or are confirmed to be sick
  • If you have not discussed alternative testing sites with your healthcare provider
  • If the alternative site has not been identified as appropriate by your specific glucometer

Phone Apps

There are several diabetes management apps that you can download and use on a smart device. This can help you track, log, and interpret your blood sugar test results. A few apps can sync up with your insulin pump or feature tools to easily share the information with your healthcare provider.

Some diabetes management apps include:

  • Beat Diabetes
  • Fooducate
  • Glucose Buddy
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Medical ID
  • BlueStar Diabetes
  • OneTouch Reveal

Continuous Glucose Monitoring System

A continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMs) is a device that provides real-time blood sugar levels at any time of day. CGMs are inserted via a sensor wire under the skin of the arm or abdomen. This sensor wire tests blood glucose every few minutes.

The benefits of a CGM include:

  • Helps you better manage blood glucose throughout the day
  • Reduces low blood sugar emergencies
  • Fewer finger pricks

Best Time to Test

The best time to test blood sugar depends on a few factors, including the type of diabetes you have (type 1 or type 2) and whether you use insulin or other diabetes medications. Individual traits will also play a role.

If you have type 2 diabetes, it's recommended to test at the following intervals:

  • Upon waking (after fasting overnight)
  • Before a meal
  • Two hours following a meal
  • Before bedtime

Understanding Results

It is important to accurately interpret your results to effectively manage your diabetes. Everyone will have personalized target ranges that will be dependent on:

  • How long you have had diabetes
  • Your age
  • Additional health conditions and/or complications

By properly assessing your blood sugar test results, you will be able to understand triggers for blood spikes and dips and have an easier time keeping your blood sugar levels stable.

When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider

Contact your healthcare provider if you're experiencing problems with blood sugar (frequent urination, thirst, blurry vision, fatigue, etc.).


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that impacts your body's ability to process sugar correctly, leading to dangerously high blood sugar levels if uncontrolled. If you have type 2 diabetes, regularly monitoring blood sugar is vital to managing the condition and lowering your risk of diabetes complications, such as foot infections, hearing loss, fatigue, and more.

A Word From Verywell

Monitoring blood sugar every day is vital to managing type 2 diabetes. This includes regular testing and logging of your results so you can effectively track trends in your blood sugar. Talk to your healthcare provider if you're struggling to monitor your blood sugar, are confused about your target ranges, or have any other general concerns about your type 2 diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does urine look like if you have diabetes?

    Urine may appear cloudy in those with diabetes. The urine may also smell sweet or fruity.

  • Can I use my phone to check my blood sugar?

    Yes. There are various apps available that can help people with type 2 diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels. Some apps include BlueStar Diabetes, Medical ID, and Glucose Buddy.

  • Can I use a home glucose monitor to diagnose myself with diabetes?

    No. Healthcare providers should determine and diagnose if you have diabetes.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Monitoring your blood sugar.

  2. Anitha Pavithran A, Ramamoorthy L, BS S, Murugesan R, MJ K. Comparison of fingertip vs palm site sampling on pain perception, and variation in capillary blood glucose level among patients with diabetes mellitusJ Caring Sci. 2020;9(4):182-187. doi:10.34172/jcs.2020.028

  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Blood glucose monitoring devices.

  4. Rosenthal M. Alternate-site testing. Haven't got time for the painDiabetes Self Manag. 2011;28(2):26-7.

  5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Continuous glucose monitoring.

  6. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Know your blood sugar numbers: Use them to manage your diabetes.

  7. American Diabetes Association. The big picture: Checking your blood sugar.

  8. Hillson R. Urinary symptoms in diabetes: Urinary symptoms in diabetesPract Diab. 2018;35(3):77-79. doi:10.1002/pdi.2167

By Molly Burford
Molly Burford is a mental health advocate and wellness book author with almost 10 years of experience in digital media.