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Apart from medications and lifestyle changes, regular control of blood glucose has to be part of effective diabetes management. It can be done quickly at home by using a portable device that measures the glucose level in a drop of blood – a device called blood glucose monitor (glucometer); the procedure is entirely painless.
Most cases require regular blood monitoring, going to nearby lab all the time is not practical. Although, most people understand the importance of fasting glucose (readings taken in the morning with an empty stomach), or HbA1C which shows the average for last three months. However, postprandial readings are often neglected.
Many people take medications on time, do exercise, have good fasting valued, and yet their HbA1C is far from optimum, or they continue to feel numbness in feet, worsening of vision, hypertension. It could all be due to so-called postprandial spikes in blood glucose. Now the science understands that postprandial control of blood glucose is also highly significant, something best done by home sugar monitoring.
Further people need to monitor glucose at home regularly to see:
- How well they are reaching their treatment goals
- In what way exercise and medications are helping them in the disease
- How stress or various types of diets affect their glucose levels
- Is the dose of insulin correct, if person is on it – it helps to avoid dangerous complication called hypoglycemia due to overdosing of insulin, which can be fatal in some cases
Home sugar monitoring of blood is also called Self-monitored blood glucose (SMBG).
For those with well-controlled diabetes or less severe diabetes (like early type 2 diabetes) less intensive pattern would do, which requires testing of blood glucose merely twice a month, once fasting and another postprandial preferably after the most substantial meal.
For more severe cases or those on insulin, Dr. Kranti recommends an intensive pattern that involves testing of blood glucose seven times a day for 3 days continually. It gives the clear picture of glucose levels during the day and requires when diabetes is in poor control, or medications do not seem to help.
Blood Glucose Monitor Buying Tips
First and foremost, always buy a glucometer of the good manufacturer and from the well-recommended store, since glucometers from good manufacturers have high accuracy. Few other things to consider are the memory, test time, amount of blood sample for testing. Some rare models may also give the average of your readings; it is not A1C but still could be helpful. You buy glucometer once a while. Thus it is better not to go for cheapest of options. OneTouch and Accu-chek are the global brands, another benefit of buying such brands is that you can find the strips just anywhere in the world.
How to do blood sugar test at home?
Once you have bought the glucometer, the process is pretty straightforward. Also most of these glucometers would have detailed instruction included. Below are some of the critical steps:
- Wash your hands
- Prepare lancing device- a pen-sized device that makes pricking skin almost painless. Many of them also have to set to adjust for various skin types. Thicker skin type may need deeper prick
- Prepare the blood glucose monitor as per instruction
- Use lancing device to prick the side of your fingertip
- Put a drop of blood accurately on the test strip
- Use clean cotton ball to apply pressure at the site of bleeding
- Follow the instruction of manufacturer to get reading from the glucometer. Generally, it takes only a few seconds to get results