A Step-by-Step Guide to Check Blood Sugars at Home

March 26, 2018Diabetes Care

A Step-by-Step Guide to Check Blood Sugars at Home

March 26, 2018

Whenever someone is diagnosed with diabetes, they are often asked to check their blood sugars at home with glucose meter. Do you ever wonder why…? Blood glucose checking or often called “Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG)”. It is one of the most important thing you can do to take charge of your own health. It is a tool that not only helps to record and track your blood glucose readings but also plays a vital role in diabetes management but also lower the risk of complications.

Self-Monitoring: How It Helps…?

  • Determine if you have a high, low or in range blood glucose level at a given time;
  • Show how your food, exercise and medication affect your blood glucose levels; and
  • Help you and your diabetes care team to make informed decisions about any change in lifestyle and treatment regimen

If we see today, the days are gone when people had to run to labs for testing blood sugar levels. With the advancement of science and technology, handy glucose meters have come up that can provide accurate blood sugar test result within seconds. These meters are quite convenient, that checking can be done just about anywhere and at any time-point.

Glucose Meter – How to Choose the Right One?

Your healthcare provider will help you to choose the meter which is best for you.  However, some important features to consider while selecting a blood glucose meter are:

  • Cost of supplies and insurance coverage
  • Fast results and small blood sample size
  • Ease of use, display and maintenance
  • Availability of test strips and other supplies
  • Memory to store your readings and easy retrieval
  • Customer support facility

Glucose Meter – Supplies you need

The supplies which are often used with meter for checking blood sugars are given below

  • Blood glucose meter – that reads and display your sugar reading
  • Test strip – it collects blood sample after you insert in the meter
  • Lancet – a small needle fits into a device which use to prick finger to obtain a drop of blood
  • Lancing device – a device which holds a lancet
  • Alcohol wipes or soap and water – to clean the testing site
  • Log-book – a tabulate format to record your readings and comments
  • User Manual – which provides all the information about your meter and supplies
  • Control solution – solution used instead of blood drop to check accuracy of meter
  • Sharp container – hard and puncture proof container with a tight lid to collect used needles

Glucose Meter – Steps of Checking

Checking your blood glucose is a simple process using a lancing device, lancet, test strip and a meter. Your diabetes educator or healthcare provider will teach you how to use it and how to record your results. The following are general instructions for using a blood glucose meter.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and dry them well. In case you use an alcohol swab, let the area dry completely before testing.
  2. Prepare a lancing device by inserting a new needle and load it for pricking.
  3. Take out one test strip and close the container tightly to avoid any contamination of other strips from dirt or moisture.
  4. Prick the side of your fingertip with the lancet and gently squeeze a drop of blood.
  5. Collect a drop of blood on the test strip. Make sure you have an adequate amount to cover the area entirely.
  6. Wait for results on the display and record your reading in log-book with your comments.
  7. Dispose of the strips and lancets properly into a sharp container.

What do the result Mean?

Recording your blood sugar results is very important. When you finish the blood glucose check, write down your results. It will help you and your doctor to review how food, activity, change in routine and stress affect your blood glucose levels. Make sure to take your record or log-book with you on each visit to your doctor or diabetes educator.

Your healthcare provider will work with you to decide the blood glucose goals that are right for you. The following table provides general recommended target blood glucose ranges and shows when you should act to get your blood glucose back on track.

  Normal Target When to Take Action
Plasma Glucose
Fasting/Pre-meals < 100 80 to 130 If < 80 or >130
2 hours after eating < 140 < 180 If < 110 or > 180
*Reference – Standard of Medical Care in Diabetes; American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2018

Take a close look at your blood glucose record to see if your level is too high or too low several days in a row at about the same time. If your pattern is consistent, it might be time to change your treatment plan. So, you need to work closely with your doctor or diabetes educator to learn what your results mean for you and how to manage them if they are out of range.

Self-monitoring – Things to REMEMBER…!

  • Testing area should be clean and dry. Use different sites each time to prevent soreness.
  • Prick side of fingertip and squeeze gently from base to tip to obtain sufficient blood drop.
  • Change the lancets frequently, reused lancets will be blunt and hurt more.
  • The meter should be clean and coded properly. Calibrate it periodically to check accuracy.
  • The strips should not be outdated, or left open; as it will give false results.
  • Maintain a proper record of your readings with your comments of anything unusual.

Self-monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG) is YOUR best friend for better diabetes management. As the power to control is in YOUR hands and you have the right to live a healthy life. After all, you are worth it…!!!


Diabee is your ever-present Diabetes Coach, helping you keep your diabetes always under control.

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