What should I avoid while using a diabetic meter?


Researchers have found that practice, at least in the area of blood glucose monitoring, does not make perfect. Fresh from training by a diabetes educator, people start off getting accurate results. But, as time goes by, they begin to get sloppy. Accuracy actually decreases over time. You can avoid this source of error in your blood monitoring results by having your technique checked by your provider or diabetes educator. Here are some potential problem areas for you and your health care team to watch:


-   Your blood. Are you getting enough blood on the test strip? To increase blood flow, wash your hands in warm water, hang your hand down, and massage your hand from your palm out to the fingertip before pricking. You may find it less painful to prick the side of your finger rather than the fleshy pad. For some strips, once the drop is on the strip you can’t add more blood.


-   Test strips. Are your strips fresh? Be aware of the expiration date. Avoid exposing the strips to light and moisture. Are you calibrating your meter to each new batch of test strips? There are variations from one batch to another, even when they are made by the same manufacturer.


-   Your meter. Check your meter regularly with the control solution specified by the meter’s manufacturer. Look at the instructions that came with the meter if you’ve forgotten how to do this. If your meter can be cleaned, do it periodically. You may find a buildup of blood, dust, and lint that can affect the readings. The instructions that came with the meter will tell you about your meter and how to use it accurately.

When using a diabetic meter, make sure your blood sample is not contaminated with sugar residues so that you get an accurate reading. To avoid contamination, simply clean the testing site -- usually a fingertip -- before pricking your skin.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.