How To Perform A Blood Glucose Test Using A Blood Glucose Meter?

Performing a blood glucose test can be rather straightforward but not all the tests work the same way with different Blood Glucose Meters. The steps in this article can only serve as general guide to help you carry out a proper blood glucose test. For more in-depth explanation and live demonstration, you should seek assistance from a certified diabetes educator. He/she should watch you test your own glucose to make sure that you really understand how to operate the meter correctly.

Step By Step To Perform A Blood Glucose Test :

1. Prepare and get everything ready before you begin. Be sure that you know how to understand the meter’s reading.

Important : Do not re-use any of the disposable items above for safety purposes.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water and dry your hands completely.

3. Clean the fingertip affected area (the part which you are going to work on) with alcohol and dry it completely.

4. Prick the tip of your finger with a lancet device. Hold down your hand and hold your finger until you see a small drop of blood appears. Quickly catch the blood with the test strip.

5. Insert the test strip (the edge with the blood) into the meter and wait for the test result to appear (usually a beeping sound will be heard).

6. Record the test result.

7. Dispose away the used test strip and lancet.

It is important that you should read the user manual thoroughly that comes with the meter so that you know how to use it correctly. You should know how to read the meter’s reading and able to interpret any error code which might be displayed on it.

How often do you use your meter depends on the recommendation of your health care provider. Diabetes patients are strongly encouraged to use it more so that your blood glucose level can be monitored closely.

What Is A Blood Glucose Test Strip?

A Blood Glucose Test Strip is usually a plastic strip embeds with chemicals that will cause a reaction when they come in contact with the glucose in your blood. A glucose meter is able to measure this reaction and generate the result in a numeric form that represents the level of glucose in your blood and displays it. The numeric result can be presented either in mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre) or mmol/l (millimoles per litre).

A Blood Glucose Test Strip is disposable and should only be used once. It is an essential component when coming to blood glucose testing. Without it, a glucose meter will be totally unusable. Hence it is always essential to ensure a continuous supply of non-expired test strips.

Where To Purchase And Price Range :

A typical Blood Glucose Meter usually come with 10 – 20 Test Strips (as bundled) for FREE. Test Strips can also be purchased separately in multiples of 50 or 100 with price varies, either online (shipping costs incurred) or directly from any medical store.

Important :

To ensure accurate measurement, it is strongly recommended that you should use glucose test strips that are recommended for the particular make and model of glucose meter you are using. Make sure you read the owners manual that comes with your meter for this.

More Information :

– In June 2008, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) reported that some patients were using LifeScan OneTouch Ultra test strips with Abbott Precision Xtra meters which resulted in false and misleading low glucose readings. Read more information here.

– A Blood Glucose Test Strip is not the same as Pregnancy Test Strip nor Urine Test Strip.

Is There A Blood Glucose Meter For Visually Impaired Diabetics?

Yes, there is! A Talking Blood Glucose Meter is a specialized glucose meter that is designed for the blind or low-visioned diabetics without any assistance. In short, it walks the patient through the blood glucose testing process with audible (talking) step by step instructions and provides the test results through voice too. Such meters are totally audible and are “Auto-code” (No-Coding required) which means lesser steps and lower chances of false results due to coding error.

How It Works Actually?

Users simply inserts the test strip from the top of the meter. The meter will be automatically turned on and he or she will then be guided through the testing steps with voice prompts. Test results will be heard after 6 seconds with time and date as well as any memory or error code. The best part is, if any voice message is not heard properly at any step, the user can easily press a button to repeat the last message or test results again.

Another distinguished feature of this meter is the design of the buttons. Its tactile feature allows visually-impaired users to feel and locate the different buttons easily. Buttons also come with raised imprint to allow users to feel and identify them with ease.

Other Features :

  • Lesser blood sample needed (0.6 micro-liter drop of blood) means finer gauge lancets to significantly reduce your pain which testing.
  • Alternate site testing other than finger tips (eg. palms, forearms or upper arms etc).

Example :

Prodigy AutoCode Talking Flash Glucode Meter

What Is A Continuous Blood Glucose Meter?

A Continuous Blood Glucose Meter is basically an FDA-approved device and commonly used by diabetes health care team, to measure and record your blood glucose levels through the day and night, and provide the average result for 3 to 7 days, while you continue your daily activities at home.

How It Works?

  • A tiny glucose sensing device (known as “sensor”) will be inserted either 45-degree or 90-degree under the skin of your abdomen to measure your glucose level in the tissue every 10 seconds.
  • Result will be sent to a pager-sized device (known as “monitor”) which is usually attached to your belly. An average glucose value will be recorded every 5 mins.
  • Calibration will take place at different times of the day eg. every 12 hours and you can also record other information like any insulin taken, meals or snacks consumed, or exercise done, into the monitor.
  • After the monitoring period, the sensor will then be removed by your diabetes health care team and all information stored will be downloaded into the computer for analysis. Results can be presented in graphs or charts that can help to reveal patterns of glucose fluctuations. Necessary adjustments will then be made to your diabetes management plan if needed.

Price Range :

  • Estimated cost of around $800 – $1400 for the transmitter, receiver, charger and casing.
  • Estimated cost of $35 per 3-day sensor or $60 per 7-day sensor.

Note(s) :

This type of Blood Glucose Meter is not intended to replace standard blood glucose monitoring but more for capturing continuous results (eg. every 5 mins for up to 72 hours) to analyze for any trend in glucose levels and work out a more effective treatment plan for diabetes patients.

Purposes Of A Blood Glucose Meter

A Blood Glucose Meter is primarily used for testing our blood to monitor our glucose level. However, there are other purposes too. Understanding the different purposes gives you better ideas of how to use a glucose meter more effectively.

What Are The Purposes Of Glucose Meter?

1. Monitor Quality Of Insulin

Sometimes, your insulin might be long expired and you may not know or the expiry date wasn’t clearly indicated on the packaging. Hence if you are taking insulin regularly yet your blood glucose level seems to behave abnormally, it could be a problem with the insulin and you should either verify them with your health care provider and purchase new ones immediately.

2. Monitor And Adjust Your Insulin Dosage

You can check your blood glucose level many times a day and observe for any abnormality or consistent pattern over a period of time. Example, if your glucose level went too high on every morning consistently over the entire week, you may consult your health care provider if you should take extra or lesser insulin during the morning time to increase or lower your blood glucose and avoid health risk.

3. Understand The Effects Of The Food And Portion Choices

Certain glucose meters with food monitoring feature allow you to manage your glucose level before and after each meal and provide you with the average results over a period of time. You shall be able to understand the effects of your food and portion choices and decide whether you should avoid certain food choice or consume lesser portion where necessary.

You may like to consult your diabetes educator for more information on the purposes of a blood glucose meter too.

What Is A Wrist-Watch Blood Glucose Meter?

This “wrist watch” version of Blood Glucose Meter, also known as GlucoWatch, is a new technology glucose testing product that will test your blood glucose through fluid drawn from under your skin with electrodes, rather than your blood itself. The process is painless.

How It Works?

A GlucoWatch depend on a skin pad that adhere to the skin, and measure your blood glucose using electric current. When your blood glucose goes too high or low, an alarm will sound off.

Key Features :

  • Readings can be generally taken up to 3 times an hour. Certain models of GlucoWatch can take as frequent as every 10 minutes.
  • Skin-pad can be worn as long as 13 hours yet need to be changed periodically.
  • Ideal for pregnant women who want to catch low blood glucose that occurs during the night.

Note(s) :

  • A new calibration is required whenever a new skin-pad is replaced which should be every 12 hours.

Update :

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the GlucoWatch as a prescription device for adults with diabetes on March 22, 2001. This is the only non-invasive glucose monitoring device currently approved by the FDA.

What Is A Food Monitoring Blood Glucose Meter?

A Blood Glucose Meter with food monitoring capability allows you to manage your blood glucose before and after each meal so that you can be aware of the effects of your food and portion choices. You may then make necessary adjustment to continue to enjoy the food you like yet maintaining your body glucose level everyday.

How Does It Work?

Add a meal flag – You can simply flag your blood glucose results as before or after meal. This will help to remind you of the impact of your food choices. Over time (7 days, 14 days or 30 days), the meter will provide you with the meal averages too.

Add a comment – After each test, you can store your result and attach a simple comment to it to note why your glucose level for that test was particularly high or low eg. “Mild Exercise”.

Benefits :

A Food Monitoring Blood Glucose Meter can typically store results and show either the average of all results, average of all before-meal results, or the average of all after-meal results. It can also show average results for 7 days, 14 days or 30 days.

Some will come with free diabetes educational material (user manual, DVD and a booklet) to help you manage your diabetes around meals.

Example :
OneTouch Ultra2 Meter

What Is A Combined Wrist Blood Pressure And Blood Glucose Meter?

A Combined Wrist Blood Pressure And Blood Glucose Meter is fundamentally a 2-in-1 product that eliminates the need to purchase a Blood Sugar Meter and Blood Pressure Monitor separately. It is most ideal for people with both diabetes (hyperglycemia) and high blood pressure (hypertension) for home use. It is typically compact, light-weight, comfortable, designed for ease of use and accurate measurements.

How It Works?

Use your wrist to take your blood pressure using the oscillometric BP method with wrist cuff technology. When testing your blood for glucose, it works almost the same like a Blood Sugar Meter except that now you place your blood sample on the same device too. Stores results for both blood glucose and blood pressure tests.

Price Range :

Slightly cheaper than you get both devices separately. Around $50 – $56 per unit.

Note :

This device does not measure your blood glucose using the wrist function (you need a Wrist-Watch Blood Glucose Meter for this). The wrist function is solely for blood pressure monitoring only. Blood test for this still requires traditional blood sampling with test strip and testing with a lancet device.

What Is An All-In-One Blood Glucose Meter?

An All-In-One Blood Glucose Meter is a compact, light-weight and convenient meter that you can place into your backpack, briefcase, suitcase, carrying bag or sport bag where-ever you go. Due to it’s convenience, you can now test more often so you can monitor and manage your diabetes (hyperglycemia) closer.

Different models of such meters arrive with different designs and conveniences. Below are some key features which you need to know.

Key Features :

  • No individual test strip handling. Certain brands/models come with preloaded test strips within. All you need is to punch a button and the test strip is ready for you. See Example.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer to handle test strips yourself, some would come with a drum of test strips yet with a built-in blood glucose meter as the cover. Upon running out all strips or expiration date, you may simply discard the whole unit away. See Example.
  • Attachable or detachable lancet device. Certain brands/models comes with a lancet device that can be used either attached or detached from the meter itself.
  • Lesser test sample (as low as 1uL) and less painful.
  • Comes as light weight as 4.2 oz.

Pricing Range :

$30 to $35 per unit

What Are Lancet Device And Lancet?

A Lancet in medical terms, refers to a surgical knife with a short, wide, pointed double-edged blade, used especially for making punctures and small incisions.

A Lancet Device is a medical device that holds the lancet firmly in place. When the user triggers the device, the lancet will move ahead in a linear way to prick against any skin or surface in a controlled manner.

Purpose Of Lancet Device And Lancet :

Lancet device and lancet are typically used in blood glucose monitoring to draw out a small amount of blood sample from the patient for testing of glucose level. The blood sample will be dropped onto a test strip and inserted into a blood glucose meter for result.

How To Choose A Good Lancet Device :

  • Comfort level (some lancet devices allow you to adjust the depth which the lancet goes into your skin. Pick one that provides different levels of depth so that the process can be less painful.
  • Ease Of Use (pick one that has ease of adjustment setting and ease of triggering to release the lancet)
  • Safe To Use (pick one that does not expose the lancet)

Important :

Do not recycle a lancet. Always remember to insert a new one before you use the lancet device and dispose the lancet immediately after each use for safety purpose.