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Home Blood Glucose Test

How It Feels

Your fingertips may get sore from frequent pricking for blood sugar testing. To help prevent sore fingertips:

  • Always prick the side of your finger. Do not prick the tip of your finger. This increases the pain, and you may not get enough blood to do the test accurately. Also, do not prick your toes to get a blood sample. This can increase your risk of getting an infection in your foot.
  • Don't squeeze the tip of your finger. If you have trouble getting a drop of blood large enough to cover the test area of the strip, hang your hand down below your waist and count to 5. Then squeeze your finger, beginning close to your hand and moving outward toward the tip of your finger.
  • Use a different finger each time. Keep track of which finger you stick so that you don't use some fingers more than others. If a finger becomes sore, avoid using it to test your blood sugar for a few days.
  • Use a different device. If you are having trouble with sore fingers, you may want to try a meter that obtains a blood sample from sites other than the fingers, such as the palm of the hand or the forearm.

Risks

There is very little risk of complications from testing your blood with a home blood sugar monitor.

  • You may get an infection in your finger if you do not wash your hands before sticking your finger.
  • You may get hardened areas on your fingertips from frequent blood sugar testing. Use lotion to help soften these areas.

Results

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.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you stay within the following blood sugar level ranges. But, depending on your health, you and your doctor may set a different range for you.

Recommended blood sugar level ranges1
For nonpregnant people with diabetes:
  • 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) to 130 mg/dL (7.2 mmol/L) before meals
  • Less than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) 1–2 hours after the start of a meal
For women who have diabetes related to pregnancy (gestational diabetes):
  • 95 mg/dL (5.3 mmol/L) or less, before breakfast
  • 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) or less, 1 hour after the start of a meal, or 120 mg/dL (6.7 mmol/L) or less 2 hours after the start of a meal

 

Many conditions can change blood glucose levels. Your doctor will discuss any significant abnormal results with you in relation to your symptoms and past health.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 23, 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.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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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