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Taking Care of Your Diabetes Every Day


Test Your Blood Sugar Every Day continued...

Some people test their blood once a day. Others test their blood three or four times a day. Your doctor may want you to test before eating, before bed, and sometimes in the middle of the night. Ask your doctor how often and when you should test your blood sugar. 

How to Test Your Blood Sugar

To test your blood, you need a small needle called a lancet. You also need special blood testing strips that come in a bottle. Your doctor or diabetes educator will show you how to test your blood. Here are the basic steps to follow:

1. Depending on your home glucose monitoring device, prick your finger or another area of your body with the lancet to get a drop of blood.

2. Place the blood on the end of the strip.

3. Put the strip into the meter. The meter will display a number for your blood sugar, like 128.

Pricking your finger with a lancet may hurt a little. It's like sticking your finger with a pin. Use the lancet only once and be careful when you throw away used lancets. Ask your doctor or nurse how to throw them away safely.

You can buy lancets, strips, and meters at a drug store. Some of these items are costly, especially the blood testing strips. Lancets do not cost very much, and meters are often on sale. There are many different kinds of meters available in drug stores. If you decide to buy one, ask your doctor or diabetes educator for advice on what kind to buy. Take your blood testing items with you when you see your doctor or nurse so that you can learn how to use them correctly.

Other Tests for Your Diabetes

Urine Tests

You may need to test your urine or blood for ketones when you are sick or if your blood sugar is over 240 before eating a meal. These test will tell you if you have "ketones" in your urine or blood. Your body makes ketones when there is not enough insulin in your blood. Ketones can make you very sick. Call your doctor right away if you find ketones when you test. You may have a sickness called "ketoacidosis." Ketoacidosis is serious. If not treated, it can cause death. Signs of ketoacidosis are vomiting, weakness, fast breathing, and a sweet smell on the breath. Ketoacidosis is more likely to develop in people with insulin-dependent diabetes.

You can buy strips for testing urine ketones at a drug store. Also, some blood glucose meters can detect ketones with specializes strips. Your doctor or diabetes educator will show you how to use testing monitors correctly. 

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