For people with diabetes, monitoring their blood sugar levels is a crucial part of their healthcare routine. An at-home sugar level monitoring device called a glucometer/Blood glucose meter is a valuable tool for monitoring and checking blood sugar levels. In this article, we will guide you on how to use a glucometer to check your blood sugar levels.
What is a Glucometer?
A glucometer is a portable device that allows a person to monitor the amount of glucose in their blood/sugar level check. It is a handheld device that provides valuable information about whether the blood sugar is too high, too low, or in a good range. It enables people to take an RBS test at their convenience. RBS is the testing of the blood glucose level at any time or random time of the day.
When to Take the Test?
The frequency and time of testing will depend on the specific type of diabetes a person is diagnosed with and their treatment plan. If a person has type 1 diabetes, they may need to test their sugar levels four to ten times per day. If a person has type 2 or gestational diabetes, they may generally need to test two to four times per day, depending on if they take insulin or not.
Why Take the Test?
Frequent glucometer usage for monitoring glucose levels can help a person to:
- Check how controlled the blood glucose level is and whether it is low or high.
- Recognize the patterns when they are more likely to have a crash or spike in glucose.
- See how the glucose levels respond in times of stress or after exercise.
- Monitor the effect of diabetes medicines and other therapies.
- Assess how well they are achieving specific treatment goals.
How to Use a Glucometer?
To use a glucometer, you will need a sanitizer or soap and water or spirit to clean up the testing area, glucometer strips that come along with the glucometer, a lancet, a lancing device, and a notebook to record results. The following steps explain how to use a glucometer:
- Before you start testing, set out the glucometer, test strip, lancet, lancing device, and alcohol pad.
- To prevent infection, wash your hands. If you wash your hands thoroughly, usage of an alcohol swab is not required.
- To make the blood flow easier, it sometimes helps to warm your hands first. Run your hands under warm water or rub them together briskly to warm them up. Be sure to dry them well as wet hands can dilute the blood sample, resulting in a lower number and wrong results.
- Turn on the glucometer and when the machine is ready, place the blood on the strip.
- Make sure your hands are dry and wipe the selected area with an alcohol prep pad. Wait until the alcohol evaporates.
- Pierce your fingertips on the side of your finger, between the tip of your nail to the bottom of your fingernail. Avoid the pads as they can pinch more. The type of strip you are using determines the type of blood that is required. Some use a “hanging drop” of blood as opposed to a small drop for strips that draw blood with capillary action.
- Place the drop of blood on the side of or on the strip.
- The glucometer takes a few moments to calculate the blood sugar reading. Follow your doctor’s order for whatever blood sugar reading you get.
- If the site where you drew the blood is still bleeding, use the alcohol prep pad to blot.
- Note down your results. For easier record-keeping, some glucometers store your results in memory.