HIGHLIGHTS

Open
Grocery Coupons

Grocery Coupons

Members can print free savings coupons

Brain Health Center

Brain Health Center

Learn how to live smart and stay sharp

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Members save on e-
readers and tablets

Caring for loved ones?

Caring for loved ones?

Find the resources you need

HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA

Diseases & Conditions A - Z
powered by healthline

Blood Glucose Monitoring

What Is Blood Glucose Monitoring?

Testing your blood sugar is an important part of managing your diabetes. Knowing your blood glucose levels helps you make decisions about your diabetes management plan.

Blood glucose testing can be done using a portable blood glucose monitor called a glucometer. The test involves pricking your finger to obtain a small blood sample for the glucometer to analyze.

Blood glucose monitoring kits and supplies are available from your doctor or diabetes educator or for purchase at pharmacies and online. Glucose meters come with testing strips, small needles (or lancets) to prick your finger, and a device to hold the needle. They may come with either a logbook in which you can record your blood glucose results or ways to automatically download the readings into your computer.

Meters vary in cost and size, and they may come with different special features to suit different needs, including:

  • audio capabilities for people with vision impairments
  • backlit screens to aid visibility in low light
  • additional memory or data storage
  • different handling capabilities, such as having the strips store in the meter, or having a USB meter

What Are the Benefits of Blood Glucose Monitoring?

Blood glucose monitoring can help you manage your diabetes and can help you make important decisions about your medication dosage, exercise, and diet. Monitoring can help you identify when your blood sugar is too high or too low.

Your doctor will calculate the target range for your blood glucose based on your age, your type of diabetes, your overall health, and other factors. It is important to keep your glucose levels within your target range because high blood sugar levels, if untreated, can lead to the chronic complications sometimes seen with diabetes, such as heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney disease.

Low blood sugar levels, on the other hand, can cause a variety of symptoms from mild to moderate confusion and weakness to serious acute complications such as coma.

For people with type 1 diabetes, testing may be required three or more times a day. This includes before and after meals and exercise, and more often when you are sick.

For people with type 2 diabetes, when and how often to test will be defined by your doctor or health care professional.

Regular glucose monitoring can help people with diabetes learn more about their condition and how their blood glucose levels are affected by activities and conditions, including diet, exercise, illness, and stress.

Blood glucose monitoring can also help to alert you if your blood glucose levels become dangerously high or low.

What Are the Risks of Blood Glucose Monitoring?

There is a risk of spreading blood-borne illness if you share insulin needles and testing supplies with someone else. You should never share needles or finger-stick devices for any reason.

Risks from the blood glucose test, which are minimal, are substantially lower than the risk of not monitoring your blood sugar levels.

How to Prepare for Blood Glucose Monitoring

Before checking your blood glucose levels, make sure that you have all the necessary equipment:

  • finger-stick device to prick your finger
  • alcohol swab to sterilize the puncture site
  • blood glucose monitor

Also, depending on the type of test you are taking, you may need to adjust your meal schedule. Your doctor may recommend taking a test after fasting for a time.

How Is Blood Glucose Monitoring Performed?

Before you begin, wash your hands thoroughly to prevent infection at the finger-prick site. If you use alcohol wipes instead of washing, be sure to let the site dry completely before testing.

Then put a testing strip into the meter. Prick your finger with the lancet to get a small drop of blood. Use the sides of the fingertips instead of the tip itself to decrease finger discomfort.

You will apply the blood to a special test strip that you’ve inserted into the meter. Your monitor will give you your blood glucose reading on its digital display.

Finger pricks rarely require a bandage, but you may want to use one if bleeding continues beyond a few drops. It’s important to follow all the instructions that came with your glucometer to ensure accurate results.

What Are the Results of Blood Glucose Monitoring?

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends fasting and pre-meal glucose values of less than 110 mg/dL, and two-hour post meal values under 140 mg/dL.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your target levels.

Regular blood glucose monitoring can help you identify fluctuations in your blood sugar levels so you can learn how food, exercise, stress, and other factors affect your diabetes.


Content licensed from:

Written by: Brian Krans
Published on: Jul 18, 2012
Medically reviewed on: Apr 16, 2014: Peggy Pletcher, MS, RD, LD, CDE

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
health
TOOLS
Symptom Search
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Drug Interaction Checker
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Pill Identifier
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Drugs A-Z
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.

 

 

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Membership Discount Benefit Pet Plan Dog

Members save 10% or more on Petplan pet insurance premiums.

Member Benefits Discounts Tires Sears

Members get $13.50 off oil changes Tues-Thurs at Sears Auto Center.

AARP Real Pad Tablet

Go Mobile with RealPad. Connect, play and share plus free 24/7 live customer support.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

AARP FIGHTS FOR YOU
ADVOCACY & PROGRAMS

African American, Asian Community Page

AARP In Your Corner

Visit Black Community, Español  and Asian Community pages.

AARP Drivers Safety logo

Driver Safety Program

Register at a location near you to keep your driving skills sharp. 

Create the Good

Create The Good 

Find opportunities to volunteer in your neighborhood. 

AARP Drive to End Hunger Logo

Drive to End Hunger

NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon teams up with AARP Foundation. 

 

Green Dot Prepaid Card

Prepaid MasterCard

AARP Foundation Prepaid MasterCard brought to you by Green Dot.

Most Popular

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed