If you have diabetes, you have probably already been testing your glucose levels for a long time. Sometimes, though, people with diabetes were never shown how to properly test their glucose levels. Here’s a little refresher course in how to do it right. Are you following all the steps?

  1. Wash your hands with warm soapy water, or use an alcohol wipe to clean your finger or other site. Be sure to dry your hands thoroughly, as moisture can alter the final glucose measurement.
  2. Place a new lancet into your lancing device.
  3. Take a test strip from its bottle and recap the bottle immediately. If the test strip bottle is left open, moisture or humidity can ruin the test strips.
  4. Make sure your glucose meter is ready for use. Refer to the instructions included with the meter to be sure that you are using it properly.
  5. Hold your finger below your waist for about a minute. This allows the blood to pool and will make it easier for you to obtain a sample.
  6. Use your lancet to obtain the needed blood sample on your clean test strip. You may choose the side of your fingertip as the testing site, or another area such as the forearm or the palm of the hand. Check to see which area is recommended for testing with your blood glucose monitor.
  7. Use a sterile cotton ball to stop the bleeding at the testing site.
  8. Insert the test strip blood sample into your glucose meter and read the results.
  9. Record your results in a log book, along with the time that you took the test. Alternatively, you may wish to upload the reading from your glucose meter to your computer, using software specifically created to aid in diabetes management.

There are several conditions that may affect the accuracy of your blood glucose readings. Some of these conditions include humidity, altitude, high air temperature, gout, and anemia. If you are frequently receiving abnormal results, you may need to check your test strips for damage or recalibrate your glucose meter. When in doubt, seek your doctor’s counsel.

It is recommended that people with diabetes check their blood glucose several times a day. If you have a serious or chronic illness, it’s a good idea to check your levels more frequently, as they may be affected by the illness.

Please consult with your doctor or healthcare professional for your specific testing needs.