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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.
sugar testing can be used to monitor your blood sugar levels. Talk with your
doctor about how often to check your blood sugar. How often you need to check
it depends on your diabetes treatment, how well your diabetes is controlled,
and your overall health. People who take
insulin to control their diabetes may need to check
their blood sugar level often. Testing blood sugar at home is
often called home blood sugar monitoring or self-testing.
If you use insulin rarely or don't use it at all, blood sugar testing can be very helpful in learning how your body reacts to foods, illness, stress, exercise, medicines, and other activities. Testing before and after eating can help you adjust what you eat.
types of glucose meters can store hundreds of glucose readings. This allows you
to review collected glucose readings over time and to predict glucose levels at
certain times of the day. It also allows you to quickly spot any major changes
in your glucose levels. Some of these systems also allow information to be
saved to a computer so that it can be turned into a graph or another easily
Some newer models of home glucose meters can
communicate with insulin pumps. Insulin pumps are machines that deliver insulin
through the day. The meter helps to decide how much insulin you need to keep
your blood sugar level in your target
A home blood glucose test is an
accurate way to measure your blood sugar level at the time of testing. If you
have diabetes, testing your blood glucose levels at home provides information
Home blood sugar testing also may be used to:
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
To make sure you get
accurate results when you test your blood sugar:
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
medical test information formmedical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
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
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:
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
Your fingertips may get sore from
frequent pricking for blood sugar testing. To help prevent sore
There is very little risk of complications from
testing your blood with a home blood sugar monitor.
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.
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.
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Proper care of the blood sugar testing equipment is
important to ensure safety and to get accurate results.
American Diabetes Association (2013). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2013. Diabetes Care, 36(Suppl 1): S11–S66.
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.
August 15, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Alan C. Dalkin, MD - Endocrinology
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