Why is Home Blood Glucose Testing Important?

Home blood sugar (glucose) testing is an essential part of controlling your blood sugar and self-managing diabetes. Your diabetes educator can guide you in terms of how often to check your blood glucose and how to do it properly. Make sure the diabetes educator watches you use the glucose meter several times. That way, you can be sure you’re doing it correctly. At a minimum, you’ll be checking your blood sugar every morning before you eat. It’s also advisable to check it before lunch and dinner and at bedtime. Your doctor may also ask that you test your blood one hour after eating.

Blood glucose levels checked with blood taken from the fingertips will show important changes faster than glucose levels checked with blood taken from other sites on the body. The usual way to check blood sugar levels is by:
Pricking the fingertip with a lancing tool — a small, sharp needle
Putting the blood drop on a test strip
Placing the test strip into a glucose meter
Reading the blood glucose level displayed on the meter
If you take insulin, you might change the dose, depending on the reading.

Checking blood glucose frequently allows you to avoid the dangerous consequences of extremely high spikes or dangerously low drops in blood sugar. Managing these spikes and drops quickly — when treatment is most effective — can save your life.

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How to Test Your Blood Sugar

This video has been developed by the Banting and Best Diabetes Center, University of Toronto and the Endocrine Clinic health care team at Toronto General Hospital.

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What the Best Blood Glucose Meter Has

Accuracy. Several clinical studies show that just because a blood glucose monitor meets accuracy standards when it receives initial FDA clearance doesn’t mean it’ll still perform up to those standards in the real world. The best meters have a good track record for accuracy in clinical trials, independent tests and with consumers.
Ease of use. If your glucometer is simple to use, you’re more likely to test as often as you should. For most users that means a bright, easy to read screen, buttons that are easy to handle, forgiving test strips and a reasonably small blood sample. If you’re vision-impaired, a meter that talks can greatly improve your accessibility.
No coding necessary. Not having to code your meter every time you open a pack of test strips — inputting a new code by hand or by using a key or chip — means one less opportunity for error. However, some users say they’re accustomed to coding and don’t mind doing it.
A small sample size. The less blood your meter requires for each test, the less painful it tends to be, and the less likely you’ll get an “insufficient blood” error and waste the test strip.
Alternate site testing. Being able to draw blood from your palms can give your sensitive fingertips a break. Some meters allow you to test with blood from your arms, legs or abdomen too. However, there are some situations in which you shouldn’t use alternate-site testing (for example, during rapid blood glucose shifts), so you should ask your doctor before using this method.
The ability to store readings. The best blood glucose meters can store hundreds or even thousands of readings with date and time stamps to help you track the timing and consistency of your results.

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A Guide to Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Absence or insufficient production of insulin, or an inability of the body to properly use insulin causes this condition. In order to avoid complications, diabetic patients has to follow a strict diet to maintain a healthy blood sugar level,

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