Test Your Blood Glucose Levels at Home
Blood glucose testing is an important part of diabetes care. If you have diabetes, self-monitoring your blood sugar is an important tool in managing your lifestyle choices and treatment plan. It isn’t enough just to consider the way you feel. Self-testing gives you accurate results and can prevent long-term complications from developing.
Diabetes UK says: “Some people can’t see the point of testing as they think they know by the way they feel, but the way you feel is not always a good or accurate guide to what is happening.”
Home testing kits allow you to get an accurate picture of your blood glucose levels in the comfort of your own home. Tests are performed with a portable electronic device, called a testing meter, which measures sugar levels from a small drop of your blood.
While self-monitoring your blood glucose may seem like a complicated and daunting task, devices available today makes the procedure straightforward and easy to implement into your daily routine. Meters come with a user guide and often a DVD to demonstrate how to use them. Most kits also come in their own case, so it is easy to keep all the components together, which is important when doing your tests.
There are various types of meters available to suit your everyday needs. While some are quite basic, others are more technical with an array of different features, so consider the following when choosing your device.
Meters for the Visually Impaired
If you have problems with you sight, there are meters available which have larger screens and backlights. You may also want to consider a talking meter, which cleverly tells your readings to you.
Meters for Phone Compatibility
Some of the latest devices allow you to store and download all your readings, which is particularly useful if you own a smart phone. You can download readings to your phone, which can come in handy if you need to refer to them when on the go.
Meters for the Technophobes
When it comes to technology, there are meters out there which are rather sophisticated in this area. But if you are not too comfortable with tech and gadgets, a more basic device may be more to your liking.
Meters for the Great Outdoors
If your work mostly takes you outside, or you regularly enjoy outdoor activities, you may need a device that can perform well in those temperatures. There are meters available that can withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures and these devices may be the right choice for you.
If you are still not sure about what device is right for you, your GP should be able to help. It’s a good idea to talk to them and ask what they recommend. They know the devices and, of course, they know you and your health well.
Self-Testing Step by Step
- Wash your hands thoroughly and ensure they are properly dried afterwards. It is best to use warm water as this can help with circulation and blood flow.
- Switch on the meter and insert a test strip into the port of the device. If you are not sure, your manufacturer’s guide will give you specific directions how to do this. The meter will then bleep to tell you it’s switched on and a small icon should appear on the screen.
- Select a spot on one of your fingers from which to take a drop of blood. The side of a fingertip is usually good as it’s not quite as sensitive as the finger tip.
- Fully depress the lancing device (the needle and plunger) to prick your finger. A drop of blood will then appear. This procedure doesn’t hurt and you should just briefly feel a sharp sensation.
- Hold the test strip opening (usually coloured gold) to the drop of blood on your finger and allow the strip to absorb the blood. The meter will then read your blood sugar level. Make a note of your reading and the time it was taken. Remember, you must do this every time you do a test, so it is a good idea to record your readings into a diary or log book. As mentioned above, some devices can store your readings, making this process easier for you.
- Dispose of the lancet carefully.
- Take the appropriate action depending upon the reading of your blood sugar level. Your GP or healthcare team will have advised you on this. If you are not sure, contact them for help.