Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Home Blood Glucose Test

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Alcohol in the drop of blood. If you clean your skin with rubbing alcohol, let the area dry completely before sticking it with the lancet.
  • Water or soap on your finger.
  • Squeezing your fingertip.
  • A drop of blood that is either too large or too small.
  • Very low (below 40 mg/dL or 2.2 mmol/L) or very high (above 400 mg/dL or 22.2 mmol/L) blood sugar levels.
  • Humidity or a wet test strip. Do not store your test strips in the bathroom. When you remove a strip from the bottle, promptly secure the lid back on the bottle to prevent humidity from damaging the unused strips.

Proper care of the blood sugar testing equipment is important to ensure safety and to get accurate results.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Do not drop or deliberately bump your meter.
  • Do not store your meter in a very hot or very cold place.
  • Clean your meter regularly, and change the batteries as instructed.

What To Think About


  • There are several different styles of home blood glucose meters on the market today. Each meter has slightly different features. Look for a meter that fits your needs. You can also search the Internet for home glucose monitoring equipment.
  • Most insurance programs cover the cost of home blood glucose testing equipment. Find out if your insurance company requires a letter or prescription from your doctor for reimbursement purposes.


  • If you think a test result from your meter is different from what you expected, repeat the test. If you get similar results with the second test, you may need to talk with your doctor about what to do next.
  • 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. This can help you and your doctor determine whether the steps you take to control your diabetes are working.
  • You can check the accuracy of your blood sugar meter when your blood sugar test is done at the doctor's office or lab. To do so, test your blood sugar using your blood glucose meter at the same time the lab test is done. If your meter is accurate, the results should be no more than 15% above or below the lab's results. Your doctor may suggest that you do this if your recorded home values do not match the results obtained in the doctor's office.
  • A urine test for sugar is not an accurate indication of blood glucose levels. Sugar levels in the blood can be high long before the sugar can be detected in the urine. But urine testing may be used to check for a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. To learn more, see the topic Ketones.


  • If you are using an insulin pump or if you use insulin more than once a day, you will need to test your blood sugar often. The number of times that you test may change every day, depending on when you eat, what you do, and how you feel. For example, you may need to test your blood sugar 5 times one day and 10 times the next day.
  • Routine prenatal visits and regular home blood glucose monitoring are very important for pregnant women with diabetes. Women who keep their blood glucose levels within a recommended range increase their chances of having healthier babies and decrease their chances of having diabetes-related complications.
  • Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can be helpful for people who use insulin to reach their target range. It can also help people who do not have symptoms when they have low blood sugar or who have low blood sugar often.

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.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

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.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
Woman serving fast food from window
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
are battery operated toothbrushes really better

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture