When you have diabetes, checking your blood sugar levels is one of the most important tasks. Not knowing how to check blood sugar levels puts you at risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and other dangerous side effects.
However, it’s a common mistake that many people with diabetes make. Many people don’t understand how to use glucometer devices while others may struggle to be consistent.
In addition to knowing how to check blood sugar, it’s important to know how often you should do it. Abnormal blood sugar levels could cause loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat, seizures and other unsafe side effects.
Do you know how to check blood sugar levels?
The first step is to know how to use glucometer devices, like a standard glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A standard glucometer is a handheld device featuring a monitor and an area to insert a test strip.
The basic process of checking your blood sugar level with a glucometer can be explained in the following steps:
- Insert a diabetes test strip into the glucose meter.
- Prick the side of your fingertip with a lancing device.
- Touch and hold the edge of a diabetes test strip to the drop of blood, allowing it to absorb.
- Wait for the glucose meter to take a measurement.
One common mistake that many people make is improperly inserting the test strip. Be sure to insert it all the way into the glucometer. It may be helpful to watch a nurse or doctor do this the first time so you can be sure to do it correctly at home.
Also, many people forget to wash their hands before beginning the process. It’s important to make sure your hands are free of germs and bacteria before handling blood.
The process of knowing how to check blood sugar levels using a CGM is a bit easier. The CGM constantly reads your body’s glucose level. Most CGMs take measurements every five minutes. It is always attached to your body, so there’s no need to take time to prick your finger.
When you take your blood glucose test affects what is considered a normal level. For instance, a fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL is normal, and a random test in the middle of the day is normal at 200 mg/dL. Similarly, certain conditions, like being pregnant, can change influence your blood sugar test.
How physically active you are can influence your blood sugar levels. Discover how a good exercise routine is beneficial when you have diabetes.