As a diabetic, it is essential that you test your blood sugar on a daily basis. You can use a blood glucose meter to test your blood. There are several reasons why you should test your blood sugar.

Reasons to test your blood sugar

Using a blood glucose meter to test blood sugar levels takes the guesswork out of daily diabetes care. Here are reasons why you need to test for blood sugar:

  • Able to identify if your blood sugar level is high or low to prevent emergency
  • Able to show high blood sugar levels (High blood sugar is detrimental to your blood vessels, heart and nerves)
  • If taking rapid or slow-acting insulin prior to meals, you need to know how much insulin to take
  • Able to know how lifestyle factors such as exercise, stress, diet, and being sick affects your blood sugar
  • Ability to choose correct first insulin dose and schedule; adjust insulin dosage or schedule as needed

How to properly test blood sugar

Testing your blood sugar levels is as simple as pricking your finger, palm, or forearm with a small needle (called a lancet) to draw blood. Afterwards, you put the test strip in the blood glucose meter to measure blood sugar levels. The measurement results usually come within 1 minute. While some diabetics have qualms about drawing blood, they get adjusted to it pricking after continuous usage.

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Every blood glucose meter is different. Some require larger or smaller amounts of bloods than others. Here are some instructions on will have to follow to use a typical blood glucose meter:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water prior to use.
  • Use the lancet to stick to side of fingertip (NEVER stick the tip of your finger. A lot of diabetic patients make that mistake)
  • Put a drop of blood on the correct spot of the test strip and insert it in the blood glucose meter
  • Use a clean cotton ball to stop bleeding of finger you pricked
  • Carefully read the instructions of your blood glucose meter to get correct results
  • Compile results and show them to your doctor to determine how often your blood sugar is within acceptable range. Your doctor may make adjustments to your medicine depending on those results.

The meaning of the results

According the American Diabetes Association, a diabetic’s blood sugar levels should stay with acceptable ranges. For instance, one blood sugar range might be 70 before eating and less than 180 1-2 hours meal after eating. Whatever your doctor recommends is the acceptable range for you.

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Here are some lifestyle factors that can alter results:

  • Pregnancy
  • Type of and amount of food intake
  • Smoking
  • Exercise
  • Sickness or emotional stress
  • Bodily injury
  • Alcohol
  • Medication such as birth control pills and certain high blood pressure pills

 

Remember: Check your blood sugar levels at least once a day. If taking insulin, you may need to check it multiple times per day to properly manage your diabetes.