Blood Testing FAQ
Why use a Glucometer?
Keeping track of your blood sugar on a daily basis is key to making smart choices and managing your blood sugar levels. Blood glucose meters and specially designed test strips keep detailed records and can now store weeks worth of blood sugar test results to simplify your life.
How do I test?
- Wash your hands
- Insert test strip into the meter
- Prick a side of your fingertip for a drop of blood
- Spring-loaded lancing devices make sticking yourself less painful
- Prick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid leaving sore spots
- Alternate Site Testing meters allow pricking of the forearm, thigh or fleshy part of the hand
- Gently squeeze/massage your finger until a drop forms
- Blood sample sizes vary by meter
- Touch and hold the drop of blood to the edge of the test strip
- Wait for the result, your blood glucose level will appear on the meter display
**Note: Meters are all slightly different. Always refer to your user's manual for specific instructions.
How do I take care of my supplies?
Keeping your testing supplies in good condition is important to ensure accurate readings. Luckily, this is quite simple- keep your meter clean, store strips as recommend on the box, and check the expiration date for your strips before using them.
How often do I test?
Medicare regulations require that you consult your physician for testing frequency. You may be advised to change testing frequency based on the following:
- Change in overall meal plan
- Change of diabetes pills or insulin dosage
- Feelings of low blood sugar
- Before and after physical activity
- Before driving
How soon after waking up do I test?
We highly recommend you check your blood sugar levels immediately upon waking up, and before beginning any activities (even showering, shaving, or putting on makeup). If you start the day before breakfast with normal blood sugar levels, maintaining control throughout the day is much easier.
If you wake up with low blood sugar simply drink a bit of juice or milk to help stabilize. If your blood sugar levels are high you can take insulin immediately and allow it to work for at least one hour before eating breakfast.
Testing your blood sugar early in the morning may take some getting used to or reminders, but it is a very effective way to improve your blood sugar control.
Can I avoid the finger prick?
Currently, in the US you cannot test your blood sugar without pricking your skin to obtain a drop of blood. Luckily, technology is progressing to help reduce the pain caused by lancing devices. Alternate Site Testing (AST) allows you to retrieve blood from other areas of the body instead (such as thigh, forearm, or the fleshy part of the hand) so you do not always have to prick your finger.
Should I clean my finger with alcohol before testing?
No, this is not necessary. Simply wash and dry your finger completely before testing. Any excess water, alcohol, oils or dirt will cause inaccurate blood sugar results.
How do I control my levels?
A great way to remember the core effective ways to conrolling blood sugar is the acronym M.E.D. which stands for:
M onitor blood sugar
D iabetes diet plan
This should be used in conjunction with any prescribed medications you may have. Monitoring blood sugar levels helps you know if you need a snack to boost levels, if you are safe to exercise, and if you can go to sleep without experiencing low blood sugar. Exercise and medication are powerful tools that help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and a diabetes diet is a fundamental part of controlling glucose. By balancing diet plans with exercise, testing and prescribed medication you can regularly achieve your target blood sugar levels.
What is an HbA1c (A1c) test and what is it for?
An A1c test provides a snapshot of your blood sugar control over the last 2-3 months by measuring the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. The results can provide a more comprehensive overview and are a very good indicator of how well you are managing your diabetes.