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Diabetic Patient Information

Home Blood Glucose Test For Diabetics

You can buy home blood glucose testing equipment at a pharmacy and any grocery or discount store that has a pharmacy. You also may be able to buy the testing equipment and supplies through the mail or on the Internet.

The supplies you will need for testing blood glucose include:

  • A blood glucose meter.
  • Testing strips. These are made to be used with a specific model of meter.
  • Sugar control solution. Each meter requires a specific solution. Many new meters are made to operate without a control solution.
  • Short needles called lancets for pricking your skin.
  • A pen-sized holder for the lancet (lancet device), which positions the lancet and controls how deeply it goes into your skin.
  • Clean cotton balls. These are used to stop the bleeding from the testing site.

General instructions

To make sure you get accurate results when you test your blood sugar:

  • Check the expiration date on the bottle of testing strips. Do not use test strips that have expired. The test results may not be accurate.
  • Match the code number on the testing strips bottle with the number on the meter. If the numbers do not match, follow the directions with the meter for changing the code number.
  • Follow the instructions with the meter. All blood glucose meters have detailed instructions for performing the test. Follow these directions exactly.
  • Check the accuracy of the meter's results. Use the sugar control solution made by the meter's manufacturer. Follow the directions that came with the meter for proper use of the control solution or compare the results with your latest lab values.

Talk to your health professional about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will indicate. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form. Click here to view a form.(What is a PDF document?).

How Blood Glucose Testing Is Done

A home blood glucose test involves pricking your finger, palm, or forearm with a small needle (lancet) to collect a drop of blood, placing the blood on a special test strip, and then inserting the test strip into the blood glucose meter. The blood glucose meter displays the results of a blood sugar test within a minute or less after testing.

The instructions for testing are slightly different for each model of home blood glucose meter. For accurate results, follow the instructions carefully. When testing blood sugar using a home blood glucose meter:

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water. Dry them well with a clean towel. You may also use an alcohol wipe to clean your finger or other site, but make sure your hands are dry before the test.
  • Insert a clean needle (lancet) in the lancet device. The lancet device is a pen-sized holder for the lancet. It holds, positions, and controls how deeply the lancet goes into the skin.
  • Remove a test strip from the bottle of testing strips. Replace the lid immediately after removing the strip to prevent moisture from affecting the other strips. Testing strips are sometimes stored inside the meter.
  • Prepare the blood sugar meter (glucose meter). Follow the instructions included with your meter.
  • Use the lancet device to stick the side of your fingertip with the lancet. Do not stick the tip of your finger; the stick will be more painful and you may not get enough blood to do the test accurately. Some new blood sugar meters use lancet devices that can obtain a blood sample from sites other than the fingers, such as the palm of the hand or the forearm.
  • Put a drop of blood on the correct spot of the test strip. Some meters also allow you to put the test strip in the machine before placing the drop of blood on it.
  • Using a clean cotton ball, apply pressure where you stuck your finger (or other site) to stop the bleeding.
  • Follow the directions with your blood sugar meter to get the results. Some meters take only a few seconds to give the results.
  • Write down the results and the time that you tested your blood. You and your health professional will use this record to see how often your blood sugar levels have been within the recommended range. Your health professional will also use the results to decide if a change in medication (insulin or pills) for diabetes is needed.

Diabetes - General Information

Goals of Diabetes Treatment

Measuring Blood Glucose Levels

Managing Diabetes

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