How should I use 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, people begin to get sloppy. Accuracy usually decreases over time.

Take your meter with you for checkups, and ask your health care provider to observe your technique from time to time. Or measure your blood glucose level with your own meter when your blood is drawn for laboratory glucose tests. Record your results. The two readings are best compared when you are fasting. When your lab-tested blood results are available, compare the numbers.

-   Make sure that you are comparing plasma blood readings (not whole blood) from your meter to your lab results.


-   If your result was off by more than 5-10%, go over your technique with your diabetes educator or provider. If he or she can’t find any problems with your technique, it’s time to suspect that something may be wrong with your meter.

Diabetic meters measure the amount of glucose in a drop of blood. The blood sample -- usually taken from your fingertip -- is placed on a disposable test strip that is coated with chemicals that react with glucose inserted into the meter. Inside the meter, the test strip is zapped with an electrical current and your blood sugar level is displayed. Refer to the instruction manual that came with your meter for detailed instructions on how to use it properly.

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.