Guide To Successful Self Blood Sugar Monitoring

By Shantanu Sodhi +2 more

Monitoring blood sugar levels is an essential management criterion if you are diagnosed with diabetes. Here, we are going to discuss when one needs to test their blood sugar, how often and the common mistakes to avoid.  

Why do you need a Glucometer?

A glucometer is a blood glucose meter that measures the sugar (glucose) level in your blood and displays it on a screen. It is a small and portable device capable of tracking the fluctuations and variations in your glucose level. Be it type I or type II diabetes, a glucometer helps measure your blood sugar at home.  

Benefits of Glucometer

  • It is easy to use and yields rapid results.
  • You can test blood sugar at home.
  • It helps in tracking the treatment’s progress and effectiveness.
  • The time of testing makes you aware of how glucose levels vary with diet and exercise.

Now that you know the importance of blood glucose meters, you need to know when to measure your sugar levels.

Type I Diabetes V/S Type II Diabetes: Testing Schedule

This section will answer your when and how questions regarding blood glucose monitoring. A qualified physician, diabetes educator or more specifically, a diabetologist’s consultation is necessary for designing your testing schedule. The information below is a general outline of recommendations by medical authorities.

To know whether your blood sugar is in range, laboratory tests must be opted. Your doctor will advise you in detail for the same.

ParameterType I DiabetesType II Diabetes
Defect Destruction of insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas (β-cells).β-cell dysfunction and the body does not respond appropriately to insulin.
Testing frequencyFour to ten times a day, it varies upon the severity.They are recommended to measure once to multiple times depending on the type of medication, the number of insulin shots and the body’s response to the treatment.
Testing scheduleBefore, during and after exercise.Before meals.Before going to bed.Before driving and once in every two hours of long drives.Before breakfast, lunch and dinner.After workout.Before going to bed.
Increase your testing frequencyWhen sick or experiencing frequent blood glucose drops (hypoglycemia).When pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.Not able to achieve target blood glucose timely.Developing complications, cardiovascular disorders, gangrene, etc.Same as that of type I diabetes mellitus.If you are on multiple insulin injections per day or an insulin pump.

4 Common mistakes to avoid while Glucose monitoring at home

The accuracy depends on the functioning of your glucometer and your ability to perform the procedure accurately. Let us learn step-by-step the correct way to test your blood glucose at home.

  1. Testing on the wrong spot.

Mistake: Pictures on various platforms might give you a false idea of where to prick your finger for taking blood samples. Pricking should not hurt; instead, it should feel like a ”prick.” Testing on the finger pad can be painful as various nerves are located there.

Correct Way: Pricking along the sides/edges of fingers (middle or ring fingers preferably) can help minimise the pain and yield a good amount of blood sample for testing. 

  1. Not cleaning hands before testing.

Mistake: Using alcohol, licking, touching, eating or keeping hands dirty before testing can cause pain and faulty readings. These activities are likely to cause dilution and massive changes in test results. 

Correct Way: Wash your hands with mild soap and warm water. Please avoid using any sanitiser to clean them. Dry washed hands with a towel and collect the sample immediately. Do not use any antiseptic before testing. 

  1. Using expired strips and reusing lancets.

Mistake: An essential part of glucose monitoring apart from your blood are the lancets and test strips. Reusing lancets can cause severe pain as they turn blunt after each use. A prick from a sharper lancet will hurt less. Pricking from blunt lancets can cause multiple and hesitation cuts. Moreover, expired test strips are likely to yield inaccurate readings. 

Correct Way: Trying to reuse the lancet or expired strip is a loss at your end. It will not only produce faulty results but will impair the progress of your treatment. Use a fresh lancet for every prick and check the test strip’s expiration date.

  1. People tend to prick the same finger all the time.

Mistake: When the edges of your toes keep touching the rough surface of shoes for months, they tend to become firm. You can touch that edge, prick it, peel it and still feel nothing. The same is the case with pricking one finger as calluses build up over time and result in no pain. This might seem easier but is ineffective.
Correct Way: The World Health Organisation recommends using the middle or ring fingers and switching between them so that the fingers heal. It will not only prevent soreness but will also increase the accuracy of results.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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