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Home Blood Glucose Test

How To Prepare

Equipment

You can buy home blood glucose testing equipment at a pharmacy and any grocery or discount store that has a pharmacy. You also may be able to buy the testing equipment and supplies through the mail or on the Internet.

The supplies you will need for testing blood glucose include:

  • A blood glucose meter.
  • Testing strips. These are made to be used with a specific model of meter.
  • Sugar control solution. Each meter requires a specific solution. Many new meters are made to operate without a control solution.
  • Short needles called lancets for pricking your skin.
  • A pen-sized holder for the lancet (lancet device), which positions the lancet and controls how deeply it goes into your skin.
  • Clean cotton balls. These are used to stop the bleeding from the testing site.

General instructions

To make sure you get accurate results when you test your blood sugar:

  • Check the expiration date on the bottle of testing strips. Do not use test strips that have expired. The test results may not be accurate.
  • Always store unused test strips in the container. Test strips that have been exposed to air may not give accurate results.
  • Match the code number on the testing strips bottle with the number on the meter. If the numbers do not match, follow the directions with the meter for changing the code number.
  • Follow the instructions with the meter. All blood glucose meters have detailed instructions for performing the test. Follow these directions exactly.
  • Check the accuracy of the meter's results. Use the sugar control solution made by the meter's manufacturer. Follow the directions that came with the meter for proper use of the control solution or compare the results with your latest lab values.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

How It Is Done

A home blood sugar test involves pricking your finger, palm, or forearm with a small needle (lancet) to collect a drop of blood and placing the blood on a special test strip, which you insert into the blood glucose meter before you begin the test. The blood glucose meter displays the results of a blood sugar test within a minute after testing.

The instructions for testing are slightly different for each model of home blood glucose meter. For accurate results, follow the instructions for your meter carefully. When testing blood sugar using a home blood glucose meter:

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water. Dry them well with a clean towel.
  • Insert a clean needle (lancet) into the lancet device. The lancet device is a pen-sized holder for the lancet. It holds, positions, and controls how deeply the lancet goes into the skin.
  • Remove a test strip from the bottle of testing strips. Replace the lid immediately after removing the strip to prevent moisture from affecting the other strips. Testing strips are sometimes stored inside the meter.
  • Prepare the blood sugar meter (glucose meter). Follow the instructions included with your meter.
  • Use the lancet device to stick the side of your fingertip with the lancet. Do not stick the tip of your finger; the stick will be more painful and you may not get enough blood to do the test accurately. Some new blood sugar meters use lancet devices that can obtain a blood sample from sites other than the fingers, such as the palm of the hand or the forearm.
  • Put a drop of blood on the correct spot of the test strip.
  • Using a clean cotton ball, apply pressure where you stuck your finger (or other site) to stop the bleeding.
  • Follow the directions with your blood sugar meter to get the results. Some meters take only a few seconds to give the results.
  • You can write down the results and the time that you tested your blood. But most meters will store results for many days or weeks, so you can always go back later and retrieve them. You and your doctor will use this record to see how often your blood sugar levels have been within the recommended range. Your doctor also will use the results to decide if a change in medicine (insulin or pills) for diabetes is needed.

Safely dispose of your lancets after using them. Do not throw them into the household trash. A used lancet might accidentally stick someone. Place used lancets into a plastic container, such as an empty detergent bottle. Seal the container when it is about three-quarters full. Check with your local trash disposal agency about the proper disposal of lancets. Some agencies have specific instructions for the disposal of medical waste. Sometimes your doctor's office will dispose of them for you.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 15, 2013
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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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

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Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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