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Why is Regular Testing so Important?

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
2
November 12, 2021

Self-monitoring of your vitals every day is tiresome and tough to achieve every day. Many people may create reasons to slow or stop checking on their health. We often get the same question: can I stop my blood glucose/blood pressure monitoring, since I feel totally fine? Unfortunately, that is not recommended.

Through lifestyle and schedule changes, stressors, and illnesses and new prognoses, our vitals can change rapidly over the course of mere months. Monitoring regularly, and strategically, will help to keep you in control of your health and avoid these little surprises along the way.

Some people don't feel symptoms when their blood pressure or glucose is high, and others feel no symptoms when it is low (hypoglycemia unawareness). This can be dangerous since extreme swings in your readings gradually increase wear and tear on your blood vessels, causing more stress on your organs.

Besides controlling the highs and preventing lows, monitoring weight, blood oxygen, blood pressure or glucose can all give you a window into how your body is adjusting and changing over time:

  • A large meal may make blood pressure very high or very low depending on your age, and may cause a significant glucose spike and blood oxygen drop.
  • Drinking a lot of water may artificially lower your glucose or raise your weight
  • Eating a high sodium meal will potentially affect blood pressure and weight for a few days afterward.
  • Keep an eye on your vitals to see how long it takes to get back to usual.
  • Exercise will change blood oxygen levels, raise blood pressure and may cause both high glucose and low glucose afterward.
  • Checking before and also after different types of workouts are key to helping you forecast what to do next.
  • Perform a safety check before driving, workout or handling dangerous machinery if you are prone to low blood sugar or pressure.

Monitoring vitals under special circumstances is quite easy. But if you are trying to create a habit out of it, that will be more difficult. It typically takes the body an average of 66 days of doing something every single day before doing that thing becomes a habit. We typically suggest to find a schedule that will work for you in the future, and try to start it now, daily. Monitoring vitals on a schedule should feel more natural after about a month, and more automatic after about 2 months.

Takeaways

When you monitor your vitals often, this will assist your healthcare provider to more quickly and correctly identify your patterns and adjust medications in response to changes in lifestyle​ and turning points in your vitals.

Most importantly, checking any and all vitals before and also after any of the above activities will help you see how you can stay in control of your own health. Stay curious! Once you have a better idea of how your body reacts, you may be able to reduce your monitoring frequency to a more manageable one. Your healthcare team can help guide you to reduce testing frequency or test at different times. However always remember to test a few vitals a few times per week- because nobody likes a surprise at their doctor’s visits.

Stay safe out there, and always remember to ask your UnifiedCare team for help if you need it!