Open a PDF version to print this topic

HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Blood glucose (sugar) self-monitoring

To test your blood glucose (sugar) you will use the finger-prick test. This shows you the level of glucose in your blood at the time of the test.

How often you need to test your blood sugar levels depends on the type of diabetes you have, and the treatment you are using. This page gives general advice to guide your testing. Your doctor or diabetes nurse may advise a slightly different individual routine. If you are not sure about anything, please ask them for individual advice.

Type of diabetes

Normal treatment

When to test

How often to test

Type 2


Diet and exercise, or

Diet, exercise and metformin

If your diabetes and lifestyle are stable, you might not need to test

If you do need to test, test before breakfast and two hours after meals

(If you are taking metformin, Pharmac subsidises one box [50] of testing strips with each prescription)

If you aren't testing, check
your HbA1c every three to six

If you are testing, test one to three days a week

Diet, exercise, and sulphonylurea

Test before breakfast and two hours after meals

Test one to three days a week (but see below)*

Protaphane, Humulin NPH, or Glargine at bedtime

Test before meals and at bedtime

Test two to three days a week (but see below)*

Premixed insulin twice daily (such as Humalog Mix 25, Humalog Mix 50, or Penmix 30)

Test before meals and at bedtime

Test two to three days a week (but see below)*

Type 1

Humalog, NovoRapid, or Apidra with meals

Intermediate or long-acting insulin, once or twice daily (for example Protaphane, Humulin NPH, Glargine, or Levemir)

Test before meals, two hours after meals, and at bedtime

Most people get the best control of their diabetes if they test every day, and adjust their insulin does according to each test result.

If you don't test and adjust your insulin each day, you can identify patterns and make dose adjustments by testing at least two days a week.

Get into a regular pattern of testing at least two to three days a week, so it becomes a habit. If you want to test more often, that is OK.

* You should change to daily testing if you:

You may also find this video, called About diabetes, helpful in understanding the importance of regular blood testing if you have diabetes.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Insulin

Written by Christchurch Diabetes Centre. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Diabetes Service, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed May 2016.


See also:

Understanding your HbA1c results

Page reference: 279947

Review key: HIDIA-21832