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How to Use a Glucometer?

By Apollo Pharmacy, Published on- 24 December 2021

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Whether a person has type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or is diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, they may need to regularly test and monitor their blood sugar levels at home. 

Testing blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to manage diabetes. It helps understand how diet, medications, and exercise affect the condition. Keeping track of blood sugar levels can help both the patient and the doctor make an effective diabetes management plan. 

Doctors recommend using portable blood glucose meters called glucometers, to test blood sugar levels. 

What is a glucometer?

Glucometers are portable, convenient, and simple-to-use devices used to check blood sugar levels anywhere and anytime. These devices analyze a small amount of blood, usually from a fingertip, and provide results within seconds. Glucometers help test blood sugar levels that keep changing and hence, one may have to test the levels often and record them.

Steps to use a glucometer         

One should follow a step-by-step routine when using a glucometer at home to prevent infection and avoid false results when monitoring diabetes. It is also important to follow the instructions that come with the glucometer. In general, the steps to using a glucometer are:

  1. Wash the hands thoroughly with soap and water and pat dry with a towel, or use an alcohol swab to clean the finger and make sure it is dry before testing.
  2. Remove a test strip from the box of strips. Place or insert the strip into the slot provided in the glucometer before pricking the finger. This makes it easy to add the blood sample to the strip. Some glucometers will need the blood sample to be put in the strip first and then inserted into the slot. 
  3. Use a clean lancet (a device that holds the needle) to prick the tip of the finger.

Prepare the lancing device

    1. Twist and remove the cap from the lancing device
    2. Insert the lancet by properly pushing it into the holder
    3. Reattach the cap and adjust the lancing device as per skin thickness (smaller numbers provide shallower and less painful punctures).
  1. Prick the fingertip with the clean lancet and wait for the blood to ooze out.
  2. Put one or two drops of blood that oozes out on the space designated on the strip placed in the glucometer. Make sure that the skin is not in contact with the strip. This is important because any residues of food and medicine on fingers can affect the test results.
  3. Place and hold a clean cotton pad on the prick site to stop the flow of blood.

Uses of a glucometer

  • To check whether the blood glucose levels are controlled, or are low or high.
  • To recognize the pattern of blood glucose levels (when the blood glucose levels are likely to become high or low). 
  • To observe the levels of blood glucose levels after exercise or in times of stress.
  • To monitor the effects of diabetes therapies.
  • To understand whether lifestyle changes like diet and exercise are helping in controlling diabetes.
  • To assess how well one is achieving specific treatment goals.

What are the normal glucometer readings for a person without diabetes?

For a person without diabetes or prediabetes, the normal blood sugar levels should be:

  • Fasting blood sugar levels: 70 – 99 mg/dl
  • Post-prandial  (1-2 hours post meals) blood sugar levels: Less than 140 mg/dl

What are the normal glucometer readings for diabetics?

According to the American Diabetes Association, blood glucose levels for diabetics should be:

  • Fasting blood sugar levels: between 80 – 130 mg/dl 
  • Postprandial blood sugar levels: lesser than 180 mg/dl

Conclusion

Monitoring blood glucose levels can help to manage not only diabetes but also reduce the risk of complications in the long run. Having a glucometer is advisable as it always comes in handy to check if the blood glucose is normal, low, or high. Glucometers are ideal for people who want to check their blood glucose levels regularly in a comfortable, simpler, and less painful manner. Based on the results, one can make the necessary dietary or lifestyle changes. 

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