How to Use a Diabetic Glucose Meter
Using a glucose meter is a daily routine for millions of people who have diabetes. A glucose meter is a device that measures the body’s sugar (glucose) levels. These devices have been around since the 1980’s. The purpose of these meters is to help people with diabetes to achieve the most normal results of glucose readings through accurate daily testing. This helps the primary care physician to make necessary changes needed to help the patient to achieve their goals. Daily testing also helps to avoid short term and long term diabetic complications. Glucose meters are also used for those who are diagnosed with hypoglycemia as well.
Steps to Using a Glucose Meter:
- To use a glucose meter you must insert a test strip into the slot indicated by the meter arrow
- Prick a clean finger, usually the thumb, digit or middle finger, with the lancet (needle) point. It is located at the opposite of where the strip enters the meter.
- Place the drop of blood onto the strip.
- The meter will automatically start reading the strip and in as little as 10 seconds a result will appear. This is usually a digital number that is displayed in the window section of the meter.
- Record all of the results throughout the day onto a log or data planner to have for future instances.
- Report any changes that are low or extremely high to your doctor. This could be a sign of health complications.
Each meter is different and the proper ways to use a meter can differ from one brand to another. Read the instructions carefully and familiarize yourself with the glucose meter. Be sure to always clean your finger before testing and that you do not use other areas for testing. The fingers provide the most accurate testing results.
The ADA (American Diabetes Association) recommends that the acceptable normal levels of blood glucose readings should be between 70-130 mg/gl before meals. And 1 to 2 hours after meals, the blood glucose levels should be <180 mg/gl. The goal is to keep your sugar levels at a steady range. You do not want results that indicate the levels are spiking too high or dropping too low. Picture in your mind a straight level road. Then picture a road with hills that go up and down. A car works less driving on a level road compared to having to work harder to adjust to the different levels of a road with hills. The same concept is applied to the body when dealing with diabetes. Major fluctuations in glucose levels increase diabetic related medical complications. Keeping a steady range reduces the risk of medical complications and leads to a healthier life.
Make sure that the glucose meter brand is the same as the strip brands used. If you use a different brand of testing strips that are not the same as the glucose meter, it can result in inaccurate readings. Always use the specified brand of test strips to avoid false readings or meter malfunctions. Only buy an FDA approved glucose meter and strips. The FDA regulated and approved these brands for proper accuracy. Production control of the meters has also been regulated for the safety for people with diabetes.