How To Measure Blood Glucose Levels From Home Using a Glucometer?
The journey of a diabetes patient is a challenging yet winnable process right from being detected with one, a patient has to start with immediate therapy to bring blood sugars back to normal with consistent healthy choices like Diet, Medication and Exercise.
Our insulin level fluctuates on a daily basis depending on various factors like diet, lifestyle etc. That's why daily tracking of your blood sugar is vital when it comes to bringing your health back to normal through a blood glucose monitoring device.
But how can we track our progress daily from the comfort of home without any expensive medical device?
There comes the Glucometer.
A "glucometer" also known as a glucose meter is a smart electromedical device for determining the approximate concentration of blood sugar (blood glucose) in your blood through a blood sample that's collected from your fingertip, a disposable blood glucose test strip is dipped into the blood sample and measured to the glucose chart.
A glucometer consists of 3 components:
- Blood collection lancet
- Testing strip
Blood samples are commonly taken from less painful body areas in your body like your finger, your arm, the palm of your hand or your thigh apart from that, the compact & smart glucose meter these days are very accurate and provide you with instant feedback and tell you immediately what your blood sugar is.
Modern glucometers have an accuracy of '+' or '-' 10% or even better while lab equipment has only slightly better accuracy of '+' or '-' 5-10%. To get more accurate results make sure to measure your blood sugar at the same time of the day.
When starting new, take the guidance and instructions from your diabetes educator or doctor to show you how to measure real-time diabetes monitoring accurately using a glucometer.
Other ways to ensure accuracy would be:
Ensure that the glucometer test strip is inserted well into the glucometer, Add a generous drop of blood to the strip, Avoid testing when dehydrated. Do not use expired test strips, Use test strips at room temperature, make sure to wash and dry your hands well before testing.
How important is a blood glucose test?
Regular self-monitoring of your blood sugar helps set your progress and helps determine the approach forward to managing your diabetes. For patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, (LADA) latent autoimmune diabetes in adults or gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy to women, checking your blood sugar levels at home through glucometers helps determine if your blood sugar either in a good range or too high or low.
Regular self-monitoring comes with a range of benefits:
It motivates patients to live a healthy life through daily tracking of progress in their blood sugar levels
Helps your doctor determine the right drug treatment for you through your regular log of blood sugar results
Regular blood sugar checkup shows a long term data which help determine any fluctuations, change in blood sugar which might lead to further complications in the future
- For people on insulin therapy it helps prevent hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia
How to measure your blood glucose with a glucometer?
For type-1 diabetes, test your blood glucose 3-4 times per day before and after eating and for patients with type-2 diabetes twice a day is often recommended depending on your current progress.
Here's how to measure blood sugar with the glucometer:
- To prevent infection at the finger-prick site, wash your hands thoroughly, you can also use alcohol wipes at the site of the prick
- Use a medical lancet to prick your finger finger-stick device to extract a small sample like a drop of blood
- Insert the test strip into the blood glucose monitor and place the drop on the edge of the testing strip
- Wipe away the remaining blood and wait for the monitor to show you the results.
What's the ideal target range for patients and how to understand your results?
There are 2 numbers to keep in mind your Post-Prandial Blood Glucose levels which you measure after eating and your Pre Prandial Blood Glucose Levels, your levels might vary depending on your gender, age, physical activity and diabetes type.
As per ADA (American Diabetes Association:
Preprandial blood glucose (pre-meal) should be 80 to 130 mg/dL
Postprandial blood glucose (post-meal) should be less than 180 mg/dL
HbA1c Less than 7%
We hope this article gives you some clarity in understanding Glucometers and how to use them effectively.