If you have diabetes, you will need a glucometer to measure the amount of glucose in your blood. Food, exercise, stress, medicines and other factors can impact your blood glucose levels. Effective use of a blood glucose meter can help you manage your condition in a better way by tracking fluctuations in glucose levels.
A glucose meter is a small, portable device for self-testing blood glucose levels at home. You can get accurate results within just a few seconds regardless of the type of diabetes you have. Nowadays, you can find different varieties of this device, from the most fundamental modes to those with advanced options and features. The cost of the meter and the test strips can vary, as does the insurance coverage. Therefore, be sure to study your options first to obtain the right model.
Who Should Use a Glucose Meter?
Consult your healthcare provider about whether to check blood glucose levels regularly or not. Individuals who can benefit from regular testing are those who:
- are pregnant
- on insulin
- have low blood glucose levels
- have ketones from high blood glucose levels
- have low blood glucose levels without any warning signs
- find it difficult to reach the targeted normal range for random blood sugar testing
How to Use a Glucose Meter
Before using a glucometer, have an idea of the essential supplies you require.
- Test strip
- Soap and water or alcohol prep pad
- Lancing device with a fresh lancet to draw blood
Remember to use the particular test strips required for the glucose meter. Similarly, the lancet should also be suitable for the lancing device.
Some tips for using the glucometer appropriately are as follows:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before using the meter and ensure proper disinfection of the device. It must be clean and ready to use.
- Get all your supplies in place.
- Now rub your hands gently together to improve blood flow to the fingertips.
- Turn on the meter and place the test strip.
- Wipe your fingertips with an alcohol pad and allow the alcohol to evaporate.
- Now prick your finger with the lancet.
- Squeeze the base of your finger gently to draw blood that forms at the fingertip.
- On the test strip, place the blood droplet and wait for the glucose meter to show the results.
- Track and record the displayed measurements and add notes if required.
- Dispose of the test strip and lancet and wipe your finger thoroughly.
How to Record Blood Glucose Test Results
Always maintain proper records of urine, ketone and blood tests. Most glucometers even have a memory to help you store your results. These records can help your healthcare provider make the required changes in your medicines, exercise program or meal plan. Carry these records every time you visit your doctor.
Diabetes Management with Random Blood Glucose Testing
In people without diabetes, blood glucose levels are maintained by the actions of the internal insulin and their body’s glucose absorption for energy. If they opt for random blood glucose tests all throughout the day, their glucose levels will remain stable. The results will not vary even if they:
- experience stress
- change their diet
- eat at different intervals of time during the day
However, in people with pre-diabetes or diabetes, blood glucose levels can vary throughout the day, especially if the condition is not managed very well. The normal range for random blood sugar testing will also vary in such individuals.
Random blood glucose testing is done outside the normal testing routine, and it is one of the crucial aspects of diabetes management. An acceptable normal range of random blood sugar testing means your diabetes management plan is working, while wide swings in the normal range suggest you need to change your diabetes management strategy.
Understanding the Results
Random blood glucose readings can help you reduce the risk of chronic diabetes-related conditions. Remember, the normal range for random blood sugar testing may vary depending on the last time you ate something. For example,
- If you test within one or two hours of having a meal, your glucose level should be below 180 mg/dL a
- between 80 mg/dL and 130 mg/dL if you are testing before a meal.
- A fasting blood glucose reading below 100 mg/dL is normal, while a fasting range between 100 and 125 mg/dL indicates pre-diabetes.
- And a fasting glucose level above 126 mg/dL indicates diabetes.
If your blood glucose level in random glucose testing is too low or too high for several days in a row, it may be necessary to consult your healthcare provider. Discussing the proper target levels with your healthcare provider and changing your diabetes management plan can deliver better results.
Avoiding a Few Common Complications
Using and maintaining a glucometer properly can help you avoid insufficient samples and incorrect readings. Moreover, the device remains in perfect working condition with little maintenance. When using it, you must avoid the below complications:
- Do not use expired test strips, as they deliver inaccurate results.
- Always have extra glucose meter batteries handy.
- Avoid sharing blood glucose monitoring tools like lancets with anyone.
- Avoid exposing the test strips to extreme heat, cold and moisture. Always store them in the container provided.
- Clean your glucose meter after every use and at regular intervals, even if you are not using it daily. Run quality control checks if you are prompted to do so.
- You may find some meters that need larger blood samples. Use the correct blood sample size as indicated by these meters for accurate results.
Glucometers can help you manage your blood glucose levels so these devices are beneficial for individuals with gestational, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Although fingertip pricking is the gold standard in blood glucose monitoring, new products like continuous glucose monitors and alternative site monitors take the pain out of the procedure. You can always ask your doctor about these alternatives to check your blood glucose. Also read more about the glucometer price.
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