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How To Check Your Blood Sugar


Why you need to check your blood sugar level:

High blood sugar levels increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney problems. You can decrease your risk by controlling your blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels can also lead to serious health problems and must be treated right away. Check your blood sugar to help you learn how food, exercise, stress, and medicines affect your levels. Keep a record of your blood sugar levels. It can be used to adjust your meal plan, exercise routine, insulin doses, or diabetes medicine if needed.

How to check your blood sugar level:

  • Check your blood sugar level with a glucose meter. This device uses a small drop of blood to measure your blood sugar level. Some glucose meters measure a drop of blood taken from your finger using a special lancet device. Other meters will also measure a drop of blood taken from your thigh, forearm, or the palm of your hand.
  • Blood sugar levels change quickly after meals, after you take insulin, during exercise, and when you feel stressed or ill. It is best to use blood from your finger to check your blood sugar level during these times. Your healthcare provider will teach you how to use a glucose meter to check your blood sugar level. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about taking blood samples from areas other than your finger.
How to check your blood sugar

When and how often to check your blood sugar level:

Ask your healthcare provider when and how often you should check your blood sugar levels. If you check your blood sugar level before a meal , it should be between 80 and 130 mg/dL. If you check your blood sugar level 2 hours after a meal , it should be less than 180 mg/dL. Ask your healthcare provider if these are good goals for you. Blood sugar levels need to be checked more often when you are sick, there is a change to your medicine, or if you change your daily routine. Test your blood sugar level if you feel like it may be too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).

Keep a record of your blood sugar levels:

Write down your blood sugar level each time you test it. Write down the date, the time of the test (including if it was before or after a meal), and the result. Write down the time you took your insulin or diabetes pills. Record the type and amount of insulin or diabetes medicine you took. Write comments about anything that may have made your blood sugar level go up or down. Your blood sugar level can be affected by exercise, eating more or less than usual, or stress. Bring this record with you to your follow-up visits.

How to care for your glucose meter and test strips:

Ask your healthcare provider how and how often to check the accuracy of your meter. You may need to do the following:

  • Store your equipment properly. Keep the test strips away from heat, cold, and moisture. Do not take a test strip out of the container until you are ready to use it. Put the lid back tightly on the container. Do not use test strips that are damaged, wet, or bent.
  • Check the expiration date on the test strip container to be sure the test strips have not expired. Your blood sugar readings may be wrong if you use expired test strips. Use only the type of glucose test strips that work with your glucose meter.

Wear medical alert identification:

Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have diabetes. Ask your healthcare provider where to get these items.

Medical alert ID bracelet

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.