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Checking Your Blood Glucose
- All people with diabetes can benefit from checking their blood glucose.
- Using a meter is the most accurate way to check.
- Keep a log of your results and review them with your team to gauge how well your diabetes plan is working.
Blood glucose monitoring is the main tool you have to check your diabetes control. This check tells you your blood glucose level at any one time. Keeping a log of your results is vital. When you bring this record to your health care provider, you have a good picture of your body’s response to your diabetes care plan.
Who should check?
Experts feel that anyone with diabetes can benefit from checking their blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose checks if you have diabetes and are:
- taking insulin or diabetes pills
- on intensive insulin therapy
- having a hard time controlling your blood glucose levels
- having severe low blood glucose levels or ketones from high blood glucose levels
- having low blood glucose levels without the usual warning signs
How do I check?
- After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your meter.
- Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.
- Gently squeeze or massage your finger until a drop of blood forms. (Required sample sizes vary by meter.)
- Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood, and wait for the result.
- Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter’s display.
Note: All meters are slightly different, so always refer to your user’s manual for specific instructions.
Other tips for checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
What are the typical ranges?
Here are the blood glucose ranges for adults with diabetes:
|Preprandial plasma glucose (before a meal)||70–130 mg/dl (5.0–7.2 mmol/l)|
|Postprandial plasma glucose (after a meal)||<180 mg/dl (<10.0 mmol/l)|
|Blood pressure||<130/80 mmHg|
|LDL||<100 mg/dl (<2.6 mmol/l)|
|Triglycerides||<150 mg/dl (<1.7 mmol/l)|
|HDL||>40 mg/dl (>1.1 mmol/l)|
What do my results mean?
When you finish the blood glucose check, write down your results and review them to see how food, activity and stress affect your blood glucose. Take a close look at your blood glucose record to see if your level is too high or too low several days in a row at about the same time. If the same thing keeps happening, it might be time to change your plan. Work with your doctor or diabetes educator to learn what your results mean for you. This takes time. Ask your doctor or nurse if you should report results out of a certain range at once by phone.
Keep in mind that blood glucose results often trigger strong feelings. Blood glucose numbers can leave you upset, confused, frustrated, angry, or down. It’s easy to use the numbers to judge yourself. Remind yourself that your blood glucose level is a way to track how well your diabetes care plan is working. It is not a judgment of you as a person. The results may show you need a change in your diabetes plan.
What about urine checks for glucose?
Urine checks for glucose are not as accurate as blood glucose checks and should only be used when blood testing is impossible. Urine checks for ketones, however, is important when your diabetes is out of control or when you are sick. Everyone with diabetes should know how to check urine for ketones.
For More Information
- Read about the latest advances in blood glucose meters in Diabetes Forecast’s “Consumer Guide 2010.”
- Go directly to a PDF of currently available blood glucose meters.
- Download a Blood Glucose Journal from Diabetes Forecast.