It can be intimidating to test your blood sugar if you’re new to diabetes. There are several steps to follow, and it’s important to get an accurate reading so you know how much insulin to administer. Here’s a breakdown of the 10 steps you should take to accurately test your blood sugar.
- Wash your hands. This might seem like a trivial or common sense step, but it’s very important that you don’t contaminate your test. If contaminated, you will not get an accurate read and will need to test again. Save yourself time and always make sure you start your test with clean hands.
- Gather your materials. This includes your glucose meter, test strips, alcohol wipe, lancets, and lancing device. Having it all laid out and ready will make it easier to get an accurate test result.
- Prepare lancing device. You can prepare your lancing device by removing the top cap and inserting the lancet into the spring-loaded chamber until it’s secure. Then, remove the protective cap from the needed (but keep it) and put the top back on the lancing device. You may have to adjust the depth of the lancet on your lancing device to ensure you produce a blood sample.
- Prepare your meter. Once your lancet is prepared, open the sterile container of test strips. Make sure you’re inserting the correct end into the glucose meter. Slide the test strip into the glucose meter, and wait for the meter to indicate it is ready for a blood sample.
- Decide where to test. Once you have decided where to draw a blood sample, swab the area with an alcohol wipe. The blood draw might be the most intimidating step for many, but needles come in such small gauges these days that pricks can often go unnoticed. The fingertips are some of the most common test sites, but new technology may allow you to test from other parts of your body, like forearms, back of the arms, palms, abdomen, and even your legs.
- Produce blood sample. Press the lancet against your skin firmly and push the trigger to release the lancet. Then, put the lancet down and gently apply pressure around the test site to produce a blood sample.
- Load blood sample into glucose meter. Once you have enough for a blood sample, load the sample into reservoir of the glucose meter to test your blood sugar. It’s important to make sure the reservoir is fully occupied by the blood sample, or else you may not get an accurate reading.
- Read the results on your meter. Once you’ve loaded the glucose meter to test your blood sugar, your reading will display on the screen of the meter. This will show you your blood sugar level so you know how much insulin or other medication to take.
- Dispose of used material. Because this test involves blood, it’s important to properly dispose of any used materials. Take the cap back off of your lancing device and expose your lancing needle. Push the exposed lancet needle into the protective cap so that the needle is no longer exposed. Next, remove the test strip from the glucose meter, place it inside the alcohol swab packet, and toss them in the trash.
- Pack your test kit into your carrying case. Keeping your testing supplies in a single carrying case will make your life easier because you’ll have everything you need in one place whenever you need to test your blood sugar. Keep this case clean and accessible for easy, accurate testing.
Testing your blood sugar regularly is an important part of diabetes management, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task if you follow the necessary steps. Testing will eventually become part of your routine and you will do it with ease. For more information on blood testing and diabetes management, stay tuned to Diabetic Nation.