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Blood Glucose Testing Delivers Tight Control

When should I test?

Your doctor should discuss with you how often you should test your blood glucose (aka, blood sugar), however, it is very important to test it at least three to four times per day. Testing gives you a good idea of how your body responds to different foods at various times. You should aim to test at least before each meal, and after each meal if possible. Check out the Joslin guide to glucose readings for more information. If you suspect you have low or high blood glucose, you should test immediately.

How will I know if I am doing a good job of maintaining my blood glucose (sugar)?

Every person with diabetes should have an A1C testing when they visit their doctor. The A1C test measures diabetes control over the past three months, which will give your doctor a good idea of how well your diabetes is being controlled. Aim for an A1C reading of 7% or lower.

How do I find the right glucose meter?

There are a lot of different glucose meters that measure your blood glucose. You might want to ask your doctor which one he or she prefers, but otherwise, you’ll want to ask the following questions before deciding on a glucose meter:

  • Is it easy to use?
  • Can I test in the dark (such as in a movie theatre), or, does the glucose meter have a backlight?
  • Is it easy to carry?
  • Will I be able to download results to my computer?

What’s the best way to get a blood sample for a glucose reading?

You’ll want to remove a fresh testing strip from the canister and insert it in the glucose meter prior to getting your blood sample. Once you’ve done this, shake your hands below your waist or massage the finger you’re going to use to make it easier to draw blood. Clean hands, or at least swab the skin from which you will draw blood with an alcohol pad so that the area is disinfected. Grip the finger in question and use light to medium pressure using the pen, and then touch the button on the pen to release the lancet. Most modern glucose meters only require a small drop of blood, so don’t squeeze too much from your finger, and then apply sample to the testing strip. After applying sample, blot any excess blood with a tissue, but don’t swipe it with an alcohol pad—it’ll just keep bleeding.

How should I care for my glucose meter?

Your meter is a sensitive instrument, and you’ll come to rely on it as a tool to manage your diabetes. Don’t expose your meter to extremely high or low temperatures, and keep it clean and free of debris.

What kind of supplies should I bring?

Depending on how large your meter’s case is, you can bring anything from some fresh lancets to an extra canister of testing strips inside of your testing case. Most people with diabetes usually have an extra canister on hand if they don’t fit in the glucose meter case itself.

When should I have my glucose meter with me?

All the time. It’s as simple as that. Become best friends with your glucose meter, and you’ll reap the reward of testing your glucose throughout the day: well-controlled diabetes.

Everyone person with diabetes is different, so talk to your doctor about individual goals for blood glucose readings.

Page last updated: August 30, 2014