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Tracking Diabetes: Blood Glucose Monitoring

  Why Monitoring is Important
All people with diabetes should check their blood glucose regularly. And, to help you keep blood glucose within healthy ranges, your most important tool is your blood glucose monitor.

These monitors are small electronic devices that measure your blood glucose by “reading” the information in a single drop of your blood. Simply prick your finger and squeeze a drop of blood onto a test strip. Your monitor does the rest. It tests the blood and tells you what your blood glucose level is at that moment.

Checking Blood Glucose Between Visits to Your Doctor
Your blood glucose levels may be checked when you see your doctor or diabetes care team. But those checks don’t give you nearly enough information, because your blood glucose levels are constantly changing. When you eat, when you’re physically active, when you’re stressed or sick, your blood glucose changes.

To manage your diabetes properly, you need to know what your blood glucose is throughout the day, every day. That way, you can take action if needed. Your monitor is the tool that gives you that vital information. It lets you check your blood glucose at home, work or wherever you happen to be.

It’s particularly important to check how your blood glucose changes when you eat. By using a blood glucose monitor, you can see exactly what effect your daily meals have on your blood glucose. This lets you adjust your meal plan, level of physical activity and medication to the needs of your body.

Getting a Good Blood Sample
The first step in getting an accurate reading is to take a blood sample. Start by washing your hands. Soap and water will do (don’t use alcohol swabs, as they will dry your skin). Next, select a site on your finger. It’s best to choose the side of a finger, beside the fingernail.

Then, using a spring-loaded lancing device, puncture the skin and apply a drop of blood onto the testing strip in your monitor. The monitor does the rest. Some monitors operate slightly differently. You’ll need to follow instructions for your particular monitor.

With today’s monitors, you have the option of testing on different parts of the body, such as the forearm. A special technique is necessary and is not for everyone. If you’d like to know more about this option, ask your doctor or diabetes educator.

Next Time:
Timing: When To Check Your Blood Glucose

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