Keeping track of your blood sugar (glucose) level regularly and continuously will help alert you when your glucose level fall or rise beyond a targeted range. This always helps in preventing an emergency and avert serious health complications. This also indicates how regular exercise, healthy food and medicine affect your sugar (glucose)level.
Monitoring your blood glucose level can be done comfortably, anytime, anywhere. Doing it at home while using a home-use portable blood glucose monitor, will enable you to have reading in as little as a minute or two. However, it is critically important to use your blood glucose monitor correctly so you can get an accurate result.
This blog post is intended to discuss some important areas for getting most out of your blood glucose meter with a focus on the following.
- What is a blood glucose meter?
- How important it is to test your blood glucose accurately?
- How to test your blood glucose accurately?
- What important points should be considered to use your blood glucose meter accurately?
- How to maintain your blood glucose meter?
- Using alternative parts/site for Testing
- Recognizing low and high blood glucose
- Blood glucose meters are not perfect
These are points are discussed in the following section:
What is a blood glucose meter?
A blood glucose meter is a small, portable machine that's used to measure how much glucose (a type of sugar) is in the blood (also known as the blood glucose level). People with diabetes often use a home-use portable blood glucose meter to help manage their health condition at home.
It is vitally important to check your blood glucose (sugar level) correctly. This will help you manage your blood glucose levels. Keeping track of your blood glucose helps you feel better. It will keep you alert you when the reading gets beyond the target range. This reduces the risk of other chronic diseases such as kidney failure, vision problems, heart disease, stroke and nerve problem.
How to test your blood glucose accurately?
There are several ways to monitor your blood sugar. It depends upon your unique case, nature of complications and convenience to decide which way to go. You can use a portable glucose meter with a test strip for which blood is taken from your fingertip for quick measurements. You can also use Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) that can either be implanted in your body if required or attached to it. Besides, there are also hybrid monitors called Flash Glucose Meters (FGMs) that can help monitor your blood glucose continuously and offer you immediate readings. The case of each user is different. your physician will review your unique case and advice a perfect solution to help you effectively monitor your blood sugar level.
What important points should be considered to use your blood glucose meter accurately?
While blood glucose monitors are simple to use, many things can go wrong if not properly done which can create embarrassment. There are, a number of useful tips, you must follow to get the most accurate results from your blood glucose meter.
- How to prepare yourself for the blood sugar test?
Before checking your blood sugar you need to observe the following useful tips:
- Read and follow all instructions for your meter and test strips given in the manual.
- Watch and practice with a relevant technician, a healthcare provider. a diabetes educator or an experienced blood glucose meter user
- Wash your hands as even a small amount of foodstuff or a tiny piece of sugar particle on your finger can affect the results.
- Make sure the test strips work perfectly well with your device.
- Avoid using test strips from a broken box or a damaged container.
- Refrain from using test strips that have crossed date of expiration.
Remember: An important point to keep in mind that test strips may look almost the same but they may not be the same. Test strips often have their own specific chemical coating or size. If a wrong test strip is used for your device, it could harm the functioning of the gadget.
- How to proceed with testing your blood glucose?
- While testing your blood glucose level, you must use the correct amount of blood drop. In case the size of the blood on the test strip is not adequate blood, the device may not be ba able to give any result or may give an incorrect reading. Hence you must repeat the test as the already test reading may be dubious.
- For this, allow the blood flow freely from your fingertip. You need not to press your finger to release blood. Forcing your finger to let out blood can affect the reading.
- Each time you should use a whole new test strip while checking your blood glucose level.
- Make sure that the test strip is inserted entirely into the meter until you feel it stops against the end.
Remember: The blood glucose monitor gives an error message or an inaccurately abnormal reading when the blood drop is too small. So in both cases go for retesting.
How to maintain your blood glucose meter?
Maintenance and proper storage of blood glucose monitor should not be hectic if the following instructions are followed:
- Before testing and after testing you need to clean your meter.
- Using the control solution, you must test your blood glucose monitoring regularly.
- As heat and humidity can damage the device and its test strips supplies, you should store them properly.
- The container of the test strips should be kept in good order and its cap must be replaced quickly after removing a test strip.
- While visiting your consultant, take your blood glucose monitor along so that you may compare the readings with the laboratory tests.
- Seek the advice of your physician if you are having problems with your blood glucose monitor.
- All the extra batteries should be kept charged and ready to use.
Some blood sugar monitoring devices can use blood samples from alternate parts of the body such as upper arm, forearm, base of the thumb, or thigh. Hoverer, blood glucose readings from these parts may not always be as accurate as of the fingertips. Alternative parts result also vary a great deal when glucose levels are fluctuating quickly such as after a meal, during exercise, or when you are unwell or under stress.
Using blood from fingertips instead of alternative parts of the body/sites is suggested when:
- You feel your blood glucose is low,
- You don't regularly have symptoms when your blood glucose is low, or
- How you feel doesn’t match the results from the alternative site.
Remember: All blood glucose devices are not made for using blood from alternative parts of the body/sites. Similarly, not all alternative parts of the body/sites are the same. You need yo consult your physician before you test with blood from a site/part other than your fingertip as the testing devices using blood from alternative parts/sites are not for everybody
How to recognize your low and high blood glucose level?
Keeping track of your low and high blood glucose level is not a big issue. However, it is worth noting that some people have recognizable symptoms others don't. The only authentic way to recognize your low or high blood glucose is to reliably test it.
In case you have a low blood glucose level, there is a possibility that you may feel pale, weak, shivering, faint, or lost. Resultantly, you may have a headache, sudden behaviour change, or seizure.
Similarly, symptoms for your high blood glucose level may be similar to when your blood glucose is low. You may have a headache may feel dizzy, thirsty or have an urgent need to urinate.
On the other hand, many people do not have any recognizable symptoms of low or high blood sugar levels. There are cases, where people have their symptoms change over time which can longer be recognisable. In the case of aged people having diabetes for many years, they stop showing any symptoms.
Are blood glucose monitors are perfect?
With blood glucose monitors, having all the positives of reliability, confidentiality, swiftness and ease, these are not perfect by any standards.
The technology used in blood glucose monitors is not as precise as testing performed in the hospital labs. This remained the centre of attention of the much of criticism it received.
However, you can get best out of your glucose meter, if certain precautions are observed. The most important among these is to consult your physician immediately or visit the nearby hospital if you feel your blood glucose level is too low or too high, even if your blood glucose monitors shows that everything is fine about it.