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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Home Blood Sugar Test
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A home blood sugar test measures the amount of a type of sugar, called glucose, in your blood at the time of testing. The test can be done at home or anywhere, using a small portable machine called a blood glucose meter.
Home blood sugar testing can be used to monitor your blood sugar levels. Talk with your doctor about how often to check your blood sugar. How often you need to check it depends on your diabetes treatment, how well your diabetes is controlled, and your overall health. People who take insulin to control their diabetes may need to check their blood sugar level often. Testing blood sugar at home is often called home blood sugar monitoring or self-testing.
If you use insulin rarely or don't use it at all, blood sugar testing can be very helpful in learning how your body reacts to foods, illness, stress, exercise, medicines, and other activities. Testing before and after eating can help you adjust what you eat.
Some types of glucose meters can store hundreds of glucose readings. This allows you to review collected glucose readings over time and to predict glucose levels at certain times of the day. It also allows you to quickly spot any major changes in your glucose levels. Some of these systems also allow information to be saved to a computer so that it can be turned into a graph or another easily analyzed form.
Some newer models of home glucose meters can communicate with insulin pumps. Insulin pumps are machines that deliver insulin through the day. The meter helps to decide how much insulin you need to keep your blood sugar level in your target range.
If you have diabetes, testing your blood glucose levels at home provides information about:
Home blood sugar testing also may be used to:
The supplies you will need for testing blood sugar include:
Checking your blood sugar involves pricking your finger, palm, or forearm with a lancet to collect a drop of blood. The blood drop is placed on a test strip, which you insert into the blood glucose meter. The instructions for testing are slightly different for each blood glucose meter model. Follow the instructions that came with your meter.
The blood glucose meter will show the results of the test in a minute or less.
Your fingertips may get sore from frequent pricking for blood sugar testing. But there are things you can do to prevent soreness. For example, prick the side of your finger, not the tip. Don't squeeze the tip of your finger. And use a different finger each time. You can also try a different meter that uses blood from somewhere other than the fingers.
There is very little risk of complications from testing your blood with a home blood sugar monitor.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you stay within the following blood glucose level ranges.footnote 1 But depending on your health, you and your doctor may set a different range for you.
American Diabetes Association (2021). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2021. Diabetes Care, 44(Suppl 1): S1–S232. Accessed January 5, 2021.
Current as of:
August 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineAlan C. Dalkin MD - Endocrinology
Current as of: August 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Alan C. Dalkin MD - Endocrinology
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