How To Use A Glucometer
Oftentimes, unless you have met with a certified diabetes educator, your healthcare provider may have given you a prescription for a glucometer without explicitly telling you how to use it. And while most instruction manuals are user-friendly, this task can seem daunting if you are new to testing or not that technologically savvy. Follow these guidelines for safe and easy testing.
Recommended Blood Sugar Targets For Most People With Diabetes*
Your targets may not be the same as the examples in this chart. Your targets are important and should be specific to you.
|4.0 to 7.0
|5.0 to 10.0
* This information is based on the Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada and is a guide.** A1C is a measurement of your average blood sugar control for the last two to three months and approximately 50 per cent of the value comes from the last 30 days.
What Can Affect My Results
If you consistently see results that arenât expected, recalibrate your meter and check the strips.
The chart below shows you the ideal blood sugar ranges for most adults except for pregnant women. Your ideal range may be different from another person’s and will change throughout the day, so check with your doctor for your targets.
Time of Test
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Make A Note Of Your Readings
It may sound obvious, but you must record your readings. Note them down in a diary, a notebook or in your phone calendar. Some meters have software that lets you do this. You could try a diabetes app too.
You and your healthcare team can then look back over your results to see if you need to adjust your treatment.
How To Take A Urine Glucose Test
At your appointment with your healthcare provider, you will be given a container to collect a sample of your urine and instructions on the clean catch method to help ensure the sample is sterile. Then a healthcare professional will show you to a restroom so you can collect the sample in privacy.
Once you have collected an ounce or two of urine, you will return the container to the healthcare provider, and it will be sent to the lab for analysis.
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When To Check Blood Sugar
How often you check your blood sugar may depend on several factors, including:
Those who have well-controlled diabetes and are not taking insulin may not need to check their blood sugar as often. However, it is crucial to work with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate frequency.
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When To Talk With A Pro
Testing your blood sugar is crucial to diabetes management. Using a meter or continuous glucose monitoring can provide accurate results. But you might seek a pain-free method to check blood sugar.
Talk with your doctor or a certified diabetes educator. You might be a candidate for a glucose monitoring device that involves fewer finger pricks or no finger pricks.
Additionally, making a few adjustments in the way you collect your blood sample might reduce the level of pain and discomfort.
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How Can I Check My Blood Sugar Without A Meter
Tips for checking your blood sugar with less pain One option is to prick the side of your finger tip instead. This part of the finger might be less sensitive. You should also read the instructions on your device. Depending on the device, you might be able to prick your palm, arm, or thigh and get an accurate reading.
What Is Diabetic Ketoacidosis
If you think you may have low blood sugar, check it even if you dont have symptoms.
When too many ketones are produced too fast, they can build up in your body and cause diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA is very serious and can cause a coma or even death. Common symptoms of DKA include:
- Fast, deep breathing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
If you think you may have DKA, test your urine for ketones. Follow the test kit directions, checking the color of the test strip against the color chart in the kit to see your ketone level. If your ketones are high, . DKA requires treatment in a hospital.
DKA happens most in people with type 1 diabetes and is sometimes the first sign of type 1 in people who havent yet been diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but its less common.
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How Do I Measure Blood Sugar
If you have diabetes, you probably already keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar through the use of a continuous glucose monitor or a blood sugar meter . Blood sugar measurement is also typically included in routine lab work for people without diabetes — your physician will usually order a glycated hemoglobin test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.
Say your A1C test comes back with no sign of diabetes — constantly measuring your blood sugar can still be helpful. For instance, some people experiment with using a CGM to see how their body responds to different types of food. However, it’s good to note that this is a fairly cost-intensive way of figuring out your nutrition, and writing down a food diary that includes how you felt after each meal will also help you figure out what to eat.
Check out these blood sugar monitors if you’re looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
When visiting your doctor, you might keep these questions in mind to ask during your appointment.
- What is my target blood sugar range?
- How often should I check my blood sugar?
- What do these numbers mean?
- Are there patterns that show I need to change my diabetes treatment?
- What changes need to be made to my diabetes care plan?
If you have other questions about your numbers or your ability to manage your diabetes, make sure to work closely with your doctor or health care team.
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How To Check Your Blood Sugar:
1. Wash your hands.2. Gather your equipment. You will need your meter, strips, lancing device and a new clean lancet .3. Insert the lancet into the chamber of the lancing device. Remove the protective cover to expose the needle. Replace the cap over the lancing device.4. Check the expiry date on your strips. Insert an unused strip into the meter until the meter beeps or the screen turns on.5. Place the loaded lancing device against the edge of your fingertip and push the button until the needle is released.6. Wait 3 seconds, squeeze down your finger until a drop of blood comes to the surface.7. Snow plow the end of the strip into the drop of blood until the meter either beeps or show the count down on the screen.8. Wait for the result and mark it down in your log book.9. Remove the cap from the lancing device and pull out the lancet . Discard the lancet in a sharps container.
When the sharps container is full, take it to your pharmacy to be replaced. Do not put your lancets into the garbage. Speak to your community pharmacist to obtain a sharps container for disposal.
Test Your Glucose Level
If youâre like most people, you probably use a blood sugar meter to track blood sugar levels. But there are other ways to check blood sugar levels without a meter. In this guide, youâll learn how to read blood sugar levels in the comfort of your own home. Youâll also find out how to test your blood sugar levels in a variety of scenarios, including when youâre fasting, during exercise, or after eating a low-carbohydrate meal.
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Blood Sugar And Heart Disease
As was just briefly mentioned, poor blood sugar regulation ultimately contributes to heart disease. This is because chronically elevated insulin drives up inflammation and contributes to the oxidation of cholesterol within the arteries. Chronic elevation in insulin also increases blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, creating the perfect storm for heart disease development.
This is likely the reason why it is so common for those who have heart issues to also have diabetes and general metabolic disorders. Whenever I am working with someone who is concerned about heart disease, the first thing I recommend is to test blood sugar on a regular basis and use strategies to ensure it remains stable.
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Which Is Right For You
Finding the best glucose monitoring system that is right for you is about finding the choice that best suits your needs. By considering the benefits and limitations between the different systems that are available in Canada, you can find a system that meets your individual requirements while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your diabetes care routine.
Our glucose monitoring comparison chart provides a summary of CGM, Flash glucose monitoring devices and test strips and meters.
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How It Is Done
Checking your blood sugar involves pricking your finger, palm, or forearm with a lancet to collect a drop of blood. The blood drop is placed on a test strip, which you insert into the blood glucose meter. The instructions for testing are slightly different for each blood glucose meter model. Follow the instructions that came with your meter.
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water. Dry them well with a clean towel. You may also use an alcohol wipe to clean your finger or other site. But make sure your hands are dry before the test.
- Insert a clean lancet into the lancet device.
- Remove a test strip from the test strip bottle. Replace the lid right away to keep moisture away from the other strips.
- Follow the instructions that came with your meter to get it ready.
- Use the lancet device to stick the side of your fingertip with the lancet. Do not stick the tip of your finger. Some blood sugar meters use lancet devices that take the blood sample from other sites, such as the palm of the hand or the forearm. But the finger is usually the most accurate place to test blood sugar.
- Put a drop of blood on the correct spot on the test strip.
- Apply pressure with a clean cotton ball to stop the bleeding.
- Follow the directions that came with the meter to get the results.
- Write down the results and the time that you tested your blood. Some meters will store the results for you.
What Is A Normal A1c Level
The ADA sets guidelines for healthy A1C targets. Your healthcare provider will consider your medical history when recommending your personal targets. While there are suggested A1C levels, they may vary based on someones specific situation.
Prediabetes: A1C between 5.7% to 6.4%
Diabetes: A1C of 6.5% or higher
If you have diabetes, the ADA recommends that you target an A1C of less than 7%. If youre older or you have complex medical needs or memory issues, then a higher A1C goal is usually safer.
Check out this ADA A1C conversion calculator. When you enter your A1C result, it shows your average blood glucose. For example, if your A1C is 6.2%, your average blood glucose is 131 mg/dl.
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What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Continuous glucose monitoring automatically tracks blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar, throughout the day and night. You can see your glucose level anytime at a glance. You can also review how your glucose changes over a few hours or days to see trends. Seeing glucose levels in real time can help you make more informed decisions throughout the day about how to balance your food, physical activity, and medicines.
Why Check Blood Sugar Levels
If you take certain medication, like insulin or sulphonylureas, checking your blood sugars is a vital part of living with diabetes. It can help you work out when you need to take more medication, when you need to eat something or for when you want to get up and move around more.
Routine checks can help you know when you might be starting to go too low or too high . Its a way of getting to know your body and how it works. It can help you and your healthcare team spot patterns too. Do you write your results down? You might find that helpful.
But importantly, it will help you stay healthy and prevent serious diabetes complications now and in the future. By complications, we mean serious problems in places like your feet and your eyes. This happens because too much sugar in the blood damages your blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow around your body. This can lead to very serious problems like sight loss and needing an amputation.
The higher your blood sugar levels are and the longer theyre high for, the more at risk you are.
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When Is The Best Time To Check Your Blood Sugar
When to test blood sugar
- Before each meal.
- 1 or 2 hours after a meal.
- Before a bedtime snack.
- In the middle of the night.
- Before physical activity, to see if you need a snack.
- During and after physical activity.
- If you think your blood sugar might be too high, too low or falling.
- When you’re sick or under stress.
Dangers Of Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is when your blood sugar levels are below normal. Because glucose is the bodyâs primary energy source, hypoglycemia is extremely dangerous and can be fatal if itâs not addressed.
If you detect any of the signs of hypoglycemia, you should first consume 15 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates. It can be in the form of juice, sugar, or glucose tablets.
Focus on consuming simple sugars with low fiber instead of fiber-rich complex carbohydrates. Then recheck your blood sugars 15 minutes later to see if you have normalized.
If you have, eat a small snack containing mostly protein to stabilize your glucose levels. If your levels are still low, repeat with another 15 grams of easily digestible carbohydrates and retest accordingly.
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Can You Check Your Blood Sugar At Home Without A Meter
May 26, 2022
The advances in health technology have made it much easier for people to get real-time insights into their blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. But testing and monitoring your glucose levels itself isn’t new. The first diagnostic test for diabetes was created as far back as 1841. It analyzed glucose levels by analyzing urine using acid hydrolysis, a test that breaks down larger molecules such as glucose into smaller ones.
Over the following centuries, scientists refined this urine analysis method further by using different compounds. But it wasnât until the 1970s that glucose blood tests such as the hemoglobin A1c, or HbA1c, became available.
Eventually, at-home finger-prick tests became available for use by the general public. Nowadays, technology has made it even easier to get 24/7 glucose level analysis without needing to prick fingers every time. You can now use tools like the continuous glucose monitor to track glucose in real-time.
Read on to learn how glucose testing and self-monitoring has made it easy for people to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
How Does An A1c Test Work
Hemoglobin A1C measures glycosylated hemoglobin, or Hb A1C. Thats the part of the hemoglobin molecule that attaches to glucose.
But lets back up a little. When you eat carbohydrates, these get broken down in the gut into glucose. Glucose is the bodys main source of energy. It gets absorbed into the bloodstream to fuel cells and organs around the body.
In the blood, glucose attaches to hemoglobin . Glycosylated hemoglobin is the combination of glucose and hemoglobin, and thats what the A1C blood test measures.
So, the higher your blood glucose levels are, the higher your hemoglobin A1C level will be. And because a red blood cell lives for 3 to 4 months, an A1C level gives an average blood glucose level over a similar period of time. This long-term view of your blood sugar level is a big advantage of A1C testing.
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How To Use A Blood Sugar Meter
There are different kinds of meters, but most of them work the same way. Ask your health care team to show you the benefits of each. In addition to you, have someone else learn how to use your meter in case youre sick and cant check your blood sugar yourself.
Below are tips for how to use a blood sugar meter.