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Diabetes Health Center

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Home Blood Glucose Test

A home blood glucose test measures the amount of a type of sugar, called glucose, in your blood at the time of testing. The test can be done at home or anywhere, using a small portable machine called a blood glucose meter.

Home blood sugar testing can be used to monitor your blood sugar levels. Talk with your doctor about how often to check your blood sugar. How often you need to check it depends on your diabetes treatment, how well your diabetes is controlled, and your overall health. People who take insulin to control their diabetes may need to check their blood sugar level often. Testing blood sugar at home is often called home blood sugar monitoring or self-testing.

If you use insulin rarely or don't use it at all, blood sugar testing can be very helpful in learning how your body reacts to foods, illness, stress, exercise, medicines, and other activities. Testing before and after eating can help you adjust what you eat.

Some types of glucose meters can store hundreds of glucose readings. This allows you to review collected glucose readings over time and to predict glucose levels at certain times of the day. It also allows you to quickly spot any major changes in your glucose levels. Some of these systems also allow information to be saved to a computer so that it can be turned into a graph or another easily analyzed form.

Some newer models of home glucose meters can communicate with insulin pumps. Insulin pumps are machines that deliver insulin through the day. The meter helps to decide how much insulin you need to keep your blood sugar level in your target range.

Why It Is Done

A home blood glucose test is an accurate way to measure your blood sugar level at the time of testing. If you have diabetes, testing your blood glucose levels at home provides information about:

  • Your blood sugar level. It is important to know when your blood sugar is high or low, to prevent emergency situations from developing. It is also important to treat consistently high blood sugar levels so you can decrease your chances of developing heart, blood vessel, and nerve complications from diabetes.
  • How much insulin to take before each meal. If you take rapid-acting or short-acting insulin before meals, the blood sugar test results can help you determine how much insulin to take before each meal. If your blood sugar level is high, you may need extra insulin. If your blood sugar level is low, you may need to eat before you take any insulin.
  • How exercise, diet, stress, and being ill affect your blood sugar levels. Testing your blood sugar can help you learn how your body responds to these things. Where possible, you can adjust your lifestyle to improve your blood sugar level.

Home blood sugar testing also may be used to:

  • Decide on an initial insulin dose and schedule or to adjust the insulin doses or schedule.
  • Test blood sugar levels in people who have symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 20, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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