How to Test Blood Sugar at Home – Quick Ways

by James Martin


Blood glucose testing is a vital part of diabetes management. If a person is diabetic, self-testing blood glucose levels plays a key role in managing diabetes and avoiding complications. A person might use a device known as continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Or, blood glucose testing can be done at home using a portable electronic device. It is known as a blood sugar meter using a small drop of blood.

Need of blood glucose testing

Blood glucose testing offers helpful information about diabetes care. It may help a person:

  • Track progress in reaching the overall treatment objectives
  • Learn about the effect of diet and exercise on glucose levels
  • Monitor the effect of anti-diabetes drugs on glucose levels
  • Detect the glucose levels that are high or low
  • Comprehend how other factors like stress or ailment impact the glucose levels.

When is the need for blood sugar testing?

Doctor lets the patient know how often the blood glucose testing is required. The rate of testing generally depends on the type of diabetes and the treatment plan.

Type 1 diabetes

Doctor might suggest blood glucose testing five to ten times a day if a person is type 1 diabetic. He or she might require testing:

  • Before and after exercise
  • Before meals and snacks
  • During the night (at times)
  • Frequently in case of illness
  • Before bed
  • Frequently in case of a change in the daily routine
  • Frequently before beginning any new medication

Type 2 diabetes

If a person uses insulin to manage type 2 diabetes, a doctor might suggest glucose testing several times a day. This might depend upon the type and quantity of insulin a person uses. Testing is generally advisable prior to meals and at bedtime in case a person is using multiple injections. He or she might need to test only before breakfast. Also, testing before dinner or at bedtime if a person uses an intermediate- or a long-acting type of insulin. If a person manages type 2 diabetes using non insulin medicines or with diet and exercise, he or she might not require testing daily.

Continuous glucose monitor (CGM)

Type 1 diabetics might also opt for CGMs. These devices evaluate the glucose levels every few minutes. This device makes use of a sensor inserted under the skin. These sensors are used for a week or two prior they require change. Various medicines like acetaminophen, lisinopril etc, may hinder with the accuracy of CGM readings.  Also Read: Best Glucometer in India

Know the target range

Factors by which doctors set the target blood sugar test outcomes can be:

  • Age
  • Type and intensity of diabetes
  • History of diabetes
  • The presence of diabetes complications
  • Pregnancy status
  • Overall health and the occurrence of other health problems

The ADA recommends the following target blood glucose levels:

  • Between 80 and 130 mg/dL before meals
  • Below 180 mg/dL two hours following meals

Few individuals would have somewhat higher glucose goals, such as people who:

  • Are age 60 and above
  • Suffer from other health conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease
  • Have hypoglycemia ignorance

Blood glucose testing

It needs the usage of a blood glucose meter. This meter evaluates the amount of glucose in a small sample of blood. Patients take this sample from their fingertips. Then, they place it on a disposable test strip.

There are some instructions that come with blood glucose meter. Generally, here’s how the process works:

  • Wash your hands well. Dry them.
  • Place a test strip into the glucose meter.
  • Prick the side of your fingertip using a needle (lancet). It comes inside the test kit.
  • Touch and grasp the edge of the test strip to the blood drop.
  • The meter displays the glucose level on a screen after some seconds.

Recording of the results

Discuss with a doctor about the frequency to record the blood glucose results. The readings by a number of devices be downloaded into a computer.

Manual recording of the results involves recording the:

  • date, time
  • test results
  • medication and dose
  • diet and exercise information.

Avoiding problems with meter

Blood glucose meters require proper usage and maintenance as well. Follow some tips to ensure proper use:

  • Check the user’s instructions about your device. As, procedures might differ from one device to another.
  • Make use of a blood sample size as per directions in the user’s guide.
  • Make use of only test strips intended for your meter.
  • Store test strips as per guidelines.
  • Avoid using the expired test strips.
  • Clean the device and run QC checks as per guidelines.


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