How to Check Your Blood Sugar
If you take insulin, you or your caregiver will most likely need to check your blood sugar. To do this, you'll use a device called a blood sugar meter, or blood sugar monitor. This simple device measures the sugar (also called glucose) in a drop of blood you provide.
Today’s blood sugar meters are designed to help make blood sugar testing quick and easy. You or your caregiver should ask your diabetes care team to help you choose a meter that’s right for you. They can also help show you how to use it.
Most blood sugar meters are pretty much the same, but there can be some small differences. So make sure to follow your meter maker’s instructions. Check the expiration date on your test strips to make sure they are not expired. Make sure to store them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
You will need:
- Lancing device and lancet
- Test strip
- Cotton ball or tissue
- Blood glucose meter
Here’s how you do it:
- Wash your hands. Make sure your hands and skin are clean, dry, and free of any lotion or residue. Soap or lotion on your skin can cause incorrect test results
- Do the finger prick. Okay, not the most fun, but it’s not bad if you do it quickly and use the lowest setting on your lancing device that will give you a small drop of blood for your meter. You may be using a site other than your fingertip. That’s usually okay, but if you have been having a problem with low blood sugar, or feel like you might be running low, use your fingertip for testing—it’s more accurate
- Gently squeeze your finger until a drop of blood forms. Sometimes that perfect-size drop will just appear on your fingertip. Other times you have to gently squeeze it out. With today’s meters, the amount of blood needed is usually no more than a tiny drop. If you are using an alternative site, follow the meter manufacturer’s instructions
- Insert the strip. Touch the drop of blood to the place designated on the test strip so the test strip can absorb the blood
- Apply firm pressure with a cotton ball or tissue to the lanced site for a few seconds
- Clean up. Dispose of the lancet and test strip according to local waste disposal laws
- Jot it down! Record your test results in your logbook, or digitally if you are using an electronic system
Keeping track of your blood sugar levels
When you keep good records of your blood sugar levels, you or your caregiver and your diabetes care team can make the best possible decisions about your diabetes care plan. You can keep track of your results in an online blood sugar tracker (such as the one available when you sign up for the Cornerstones4Care® Diabetes Health Coach). Many meters also store the results and some also have computer programs available that let you download the information. You or your caregiver should speak with your diabetes care team about a blood sugar meter that is right for you.