Checking Your Own Blood Sugar Levels

Checking your blood sugar levels at home helps control your diabetes. It lets you and your doctor know how your medicine, food and exercise are working. Your doctor will tell you how often to check your blood sugar. You may need to do it more often when you are sick. You should write down your results and talk to your doctor about them. Checking will tell you if your blood sugar levels are too high or too low.

Here is what you need to get started:

  • A glucose monitor
  • Test strips - make sure they are not out of date
  • Soap and water or alcohol pad to clean your hands
  • A way to lance your finger using a lancing device - some monitors now have the ability to check blood sugar levels using sites other than the sides of your fingers
  • A log book to write down the results

Here is how you check your blood sugar: Checking your blood sugar levels may seem hard at first. But, it will become easier with practice. When you get a new glucose monitor, ask your diabetes educator for help in learning how to use it. Always follow the manufacturer?s instructions that come with your monitor. Most blood glucose monitors come with a toll-free customer service number that can be called if you need more help at home. Before you check, gather all the equipment you will need. Make sure you have the correct strips for the monitor you are using. Check the expiration date of the strips. Do not check blood sugar levels with any materials that are out of date or have changed color. Do not use any monitoring equipment that belongs to someone else. Do not share your equipment with others. Some monitors need to be calibrated. Check the owner's manual for help with this.

Checking your own ketones If you have type 1 diabetes or are pregnant, your doctor may want you to check your urine for ketones at certain times. Your doctor will let you know when to check for ketones. You will need to have a box of ketone strips. The box will explain how to check your urine. There are also some glucose meters that check for blood ketones. The owner's manual will explain blood ketone testing. Call your doctor if your ketones levels are "moderate" or "high" levels.

How can your doctor help? Your doctor can refer you to a diabetes educator who can show you how to check your blood sugar levels. Your doctor can tell you when to check your blood sugar levels. Ask your doctor what your blood sugar levels should run before and after meals. If you have type 1 diabetes or are pregnant, your doctor can tell you when to check your urine or blood for ketones.