Millions of people around the world are on specific diet plans and medications to keep their blood glucose levels under control. This life-threatening condition begs constant monitoring for one to have a proper risk perception and also to see the effect of low-sugar diets and diabetes medications. In many cases, a diabetic patient will need to measure blood glucose levels 4-5 times a day. But thanks to the technological revolution that has enabled millions of people around the world to keep a check on their sugar levels from the comfort of their homes through a glucometer.
This popularly available kit is especially a hit with patients of type 2 diabetes. A typical set contains:
Lancets: Needles to draw blood
Lancet holder: To firmly grip the needle
Test strips: The strips are meant to collect the sample
The glucometer: Strips with blood sample are entered in the meter to get the reading.
Things To Keep In Mind When Checking Blood Sugar At Home
The lancet is fitted in the holder and a finger-tip is poked to draw a drop of blood that is collected on the strip. It is fed in the glucometer to get the glucose levels within 5-45 seconds (depending on the type of glucometer you use). While it is a very easy procedure, many small mistakes can cause the readings to go haywire. So here are some basics that you should stick to when performing the test at home to get accurate readings and manage your condition.
1. Seek Doctor’s Advice For Choosing A Glucometer
Just being diagnosed with diabetes does not entail buying the test kit. If you need one, your doctor will certainly prescribe so. Get professional help from the clinic or a diagnostic center for choosing the brand best suited for you. You can even get in touch with friends and relatives you have diabetes and are using a glucometer to know the best ones. Also, do your research online and go through customer reviews online to know the right one that fits your needs before you buy one.
2. Seek Help To Get Started
Although there are instructions on the leaflet available with the glucometer, if you fail to do so, then get your physician/physician’s assistant to show you the correct way to perform the test. You can even go to your family doctor’s clinic to get help until you get the technique. It is extremely important to know the right way to get the test done because if you get the test wrong, chances are that your results will be incorrect and that is a time-bomb ticking away speedily. Also, it is equally important to get clear instructions from your doctor on the frequency of the test so that you do not end up testing your glucose levels too often.
3. Clean The Area To Be Tested
The purpose is to measure the sugar levels in your blood, not the accumulated dirt on your finger. Wash your hands thoroughly with an antiseptic hand-wash before the test. Never ever take the blood without washing your hands, especially after eating something, because there are high chances that the presence of glucose in the foods you eat can interfere with the reading and give you a wrong reading. Use the second drop of blood if you are not satisfied with the cleaning.
4. Choose The Right Sample-Drawing Site
While the newer kits let you draw blood samples from the thighs or even the upper arms, fingertips continue to be the most popular choice. Make sure that you use different fingers for drawing blood as poking the same finger over and over again can injure the finger and lead to pain. It is a wise idea to use the hand that you use less (left hand if you are a right-handed person) and even sides of the fingers to draw the blood.
5. Check Usability Of Lancets And Test-Strips
Lancets should be sharp enough to be able to poke your finger without causing hurt. Also, re-using the lancets can cause serious infection. Also, always check the expiry date on the test strips and lancets before buying. This is because, use of outdated strips can give incorrect readings and thus, serve no purpose.
6. Calibrate Your Glucometer
Most people do not calibrate their glucometer prior to their first use. However, it is important to calibrate it at your doctor’s clinic before you start using it on a regular basis to get accurate readings. Also, it is important that you calibrate the instrument once with that of a diagnostic center. This also includes the test strips come with a code that you may need to key into the glucometer before starting off with a new set.
7. Record Your Results
Measurement is the purpose of the entire exercise and tracking the results is very important to ensure that you are on the right path. Some glucometers come with inbuilt result recorders but if your glucometer doesn’t have this feature, then you have to maintain a logbook to record the readings. This will help you and your doctor to monitor your diabetes control in a more effective manner and treat fluctuations (if any) in no time.
So, keep these simple and essential facts in mind while checking your blood sugar at home to keep a close eye on your diabetes control and also to assess the efficacy of medications and dietary changes.