Carrying out a blood glucose test

Do all blood glucose meters work in the same way?

No. the exact procedure for carrying out a blood test will vary according to which type of blood glucose meter you have. With most machines, you will need to prepare the meter for use, insert a blood testing strip, obtain a blood sample, apply blood to the testing strip, and wait for a result. Check the instructions that come with your meter to determine any variations to this routine.

How can I make sure I get the most accurate result possible?

Your blood glucose meter comes with instructions on how to sue it, so the first step is to read and follow these. The following additional tips are also important to ensure an accurate reading: wash and dry the site you intend to take blood from; calibrate your meter each time you start a new container of testing strips; use a new testing strip for each test. Also, avid “topping up” blood on your strip if your equipment isn’t designed for this.

Why does my blood glucose meter turn itself off before I’ve done a test?

If you insert your testing strip into the meter and then take too long to apply your blood, your meter switches itself off to save battery power. If this happens, you need to remove the testing strip and reinsert it. Once you have put a drop of blood on the testing strip and the strip is in the meter, a built-in timing device takes over.

Is there a device that can continuously monitor my blood glucose level?

There are two types of device available for continuous testing: a watchlike device that you wear on your wrist and a machine that is connected to a needle in your abdomen. These are not widely used, partly because they are more expensive than a blood glucose meter and partly because the technology is still being developed. If you use this equipment, you still need to do some fingerprick tests to calibrate the machines, and you need to buy ongoing supplies for the equipment.
Why do I need to keep a diary of my test results?

Recording the results of your blood glucose tests will enable you to see how your blood glucose level changes over the course of a day or a week. If you notice patterns of high and low blood glucose readings, you can take action to bring your blood glucose level back within the recommended range.

What information do I need to put in my monitoring diary?

A monitoring diary provides space for you to enter the results of seven or more blood glucose tests a day, together with the date and time of the tests. You can also record what type and dose of medication you are taking plus any additional relevant information, such as what has caused high or low readings or what changes you are making to correct fluctuating readings.

Can I create an electronic diary?

Yes, some blood glucose meters have a facility that allows you to download your results and analyze them on a computer. This facility enables you to view your results in graph or table form, and you can also look specifically at readings at certain times of day, or average readings within various time scales, for example over the last 7 days.

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