Why You Need to Monitor Your Blood Sugar for Diabetes

Testing your blood sugar level at home helps you gauge how well you're managing your diabetes.

How can you tell if your diabetes management plan is working? Monitor your blood sugar at home. Daily testing with a computerized glucose meter tells you whether your diet, exercise regimen, and medication are working—or need adjustment. In-home blood glucose tests can also alert you to dangerous spikes or dips in your blood sugar level.

When to Test Your Blood Sugar
You may or may not need to test your blood sugar every day. It depends on the type of diabetes you have, how long you've had it, and how well it's controlled. Ask your doctor for a personalized daily schedule. This might include testing before or after meals or exercise, before bedtime or upon waking or additional testing on days when you're ill or highly stressed.

How to Test Your Blood Sugar
Keep a daily log of your readings, follow the instructions in your user manual, and use these guidelines to ensure accurate readings:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water before testing.
  • Make sure glucose meter and test strip are at room temperature.
  • Make sure test strip hasn't expired.
  • Calibrate your meter for the current box of test strips.
  • Hold your hand with fingers pointing down for 30 seconds and use the side of your fingertip.
  • Make sure the drop of blood you draw is large enough.
  • Throw away the lancet in a sharps container.

Types of Blood Glucose Meters
You can choose from a variety of glucose meters. They're all fairly equal in accuracy, but vary in cost, ease-of-use and features. Some meters have memory to store your results. Others require fewer steps to get a reading. The newest meter to hit the market provides an automated log for insulin doses and blood sugar level readings, along with software that tracks your progress and transmits your readings to your doctor. Ask your doctor for a recommendation and check with your insurance company to make sure the meter you buy is covered under your plan.

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