Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Home Blood Sugar Testing

Everyone with diabetes should test their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels regularly at home. Knowing your blood sugar levels allows you to alter your diabetes management strategy if your levels aren't near your target.

Also, regular testing of your blood sugar levels can help reduce your risk of having long-term complications from diabetes. Based on studies of people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, maintaining your target blood sugar and HbA1c levels significantly reduces the risks of complications arising from diabetes.

Ways to Test Your Blood Sugar

  • Traditional Home Blood Sugar Monitoring. The traditional method of testing your blood sugar involves pricking your finger with a lancet (a small, sharp needle), putting a drop of blood on a test strip, and then placing the strip into a meter that displays your blood sugar level. Meters vary in features, readability (with larger displays or spoken instructions for the visually impaired), portability, speed, size, and cost. Current devices provide results in less than 15 seconds and can store this information for future use. Some of these meters can also calculate an average blood sugar level over a period of time. Some meters also feature software kits that retrieve information from the meter and display graphs and charts of your past test results. Blood sugar meters and strips are available at your local pharmacy.
  • Meters That Test Alternative Sites. Newer meters allow you to test sites other than your fingertip; these alternative testing sites may include upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, and thigh. However, testing at alternative sites may give you results that are different from the blood sugar levels obtained from the fingertip. Blood sugar levels in the fingertips show changes more quickly than those in alternative testing sites. This is especially true when your blood sugar is rapidly changing, like after a meal or after exercise. It is also important to know that if you are checking your sugar at an alternative site while you are experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia, you should not rely on these test results.
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. Also known as interstitial glucose measuring devices. Some of these devices are combined with insulin pumps. They are not as accurate as fingerstick glucose results but can be used to see patterns and trends.

Newer technologies are now being studied using spectroscopy and electromagnetic waves as ways to test blood sugar levels without piercing the skin.

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.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner