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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.

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 ranges 1
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.

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.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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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