Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your blood glucose meter.
Check the expiry date on all diabetes testing supplies.
Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and dry carefully before glucose testing. This will help get rid of any contaminants (e.g. sugar on your fingers from the food you have been eating), and will also ensure a good blood flow.
Use the sides of your fingers, as these are less sensitive than the fingertips. Avoid the thumb and index finger and vary the sites to avoid the risk of infection or callous build up.
If you struggle to obtain enough blood, hold your hand down to let gravity help the blood flow to the fingers.
Change the lancet in the finger-pricking device every time you perform a blood glucose test. This will reduce discomfort, the risk of infection and ensure that enough blood is obtained.
Record the results in your glucose testing record diary.
Make a note of anything unusual alongside the results and whether they were taken before or after meals. Later on, it is not always easy to remember what else might have been happening at the time of the blood glucose test.
Take your glucose testing record diary, or a print out from your diabetes management software (a tracking tool that helps you monitor your blood glucose levels), to all appointments with your diabetes care team.
FREQUENCY OF BLOOD SUGAR TESTING
Studies have proven that people with type 1 and 2 diabetes who maintain normal or near normal blood sugar levels have a lower risk of diabetes-related complications than those who have high blood sugar levels. How frequently you test will depend upon the type of diabetes you have (1 or 2) and which treatment(s) you use (insulin versus oral medications or lifestyle changes).
Type 1 diabetes — For people with type 1 diabetes, frequent testing is the only way to safely and effectively manage blood sugar levels.
Most people need to test at least four times per day. If you use an insulin pump, give three or more insulin injections per day, or are a woman with type 1 diabetes who is pregnant, you may need to test as many as seven times per day or more.
People who test frequently, especially those using intensive insulin therapy, may consider purchasing several blood glucose monitors to keep at home, work, school, or in a purse or backpack. This allows easier access to testing equipment, which can increase testing frequency and therefore improve blood sugar control.
Type 2 diabetes — Blood sugar monitoring is also important for people with type 2 diabetes. The recommendations for how often you should test are based upon individual factors such as type of treatment (diet versus oral medication versus insulin), level of glycated hemoglobin (A1C), and treatment goals. A healthcare provider can help you determine how frequently to test.
Understanding your blood glucose results
In order to use your blood glucose results to guide management successfully, you need to understand how to interpret them. Here are some points to help you do this:
1.Glucose monitoring systems: different glucose monitoring devices or blood glucose meters use different methods to measure blood glucose levels and may give different results, even if the blood glucose tests have been performed correctly and at the same time. Use only one type of glucose monitoring device to obtain an overall picture of your blood glucose trends
2.Laboratory results versus self-monitoring: blood samples sent to the hospital laboratory for analysis may return results that are 10-15% higher than the results you get from a blood glucose meter. This is because some older blood glucose meters report whole blood glucose referenced results whereas laboratory systems report plasma referenced results.
3.Test and check the results: some people think they can tell what their blood glucose levels are by how they feel, but this is often not the case and you should always test to be sure. If your blood glucose test result does not match the way your feel, retest your blood glucose levels and make sure the test is performed as instructed by the manufacturer of the glucose monitoring device
4.Timing of blood glucose monitoring: it takes about 2 hours before you can tell the effect that your meal has had on your blood glucose levels. Blood glucose tests carried out immediately after eating will not really provide any useful information.
5.If your blood glucose levels are higher than your agreed target range 2 hours after eating, your carbohydrate servings may have been too large, or your medication dose could have been inadequate for that meal. You should discuss this with your diabetes care team.
6.Blood glucose levels can be lower than normal after exercise, and may remain lower than normal for several hours. If your blood glucose increases after exercise, you may need to adjust your medication (discuss this with your diabetes care team)
7.Your results can be affected by illness, hormonal changes (e.g. during the night, menopause, menstrual cycles), stress, changes in medication, changes in dietary intake and reduced levels of physical activity. Discuss changes in your blood glucose levels with your diabetes care team.
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