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How To Check Your Blood Sugar Correctly-You May Be Doing It Wrong

How To Check Your Blood Sugar Correctly-headIf you have diabetes, the most important thing you will ever do, the one thing you must get right, is learning how to check your blood sugar correctly.

Results from a study of more than 5,000 people living with diabetes showed that even those people who don’t take medication for diabetes have better blood sugar control if they test regularly.

The risk of early kidney damage, strokes, and death from diabetes-related causes was also reduced by one-third in the study participants when they began to check their glucose levels correctly and consistently.

Here’s why you may be doing it wrong, no matter how long ago you were diagnosed. Of course, here’s also how to get it right.

You know, of course, that the accuracy of your results is tied to the accuracy of your checking — and to your understanding of what all the numbers mean.

  • You are learning something important from checking your blood sugar.
  • Don’t  just look at those numbers, write them down, and move on.

With any condition or diagnosis, and especially with Diabetes, you must take an active role in your health. Because the more you know…

Here are the most common blood sugar testing mistakes and how to check your blood sugar correctly:

1. Understand What You’re Doing And Why

2. Testing Your Fingertip

  • The single biggest mistake people make is testing the fingertip where the nerves are located. The pad of your finger is the most sensitive spot, so testing there will hurt.

Here’s how to get better control:

  • Put your hands together with flat palms and fingertips pressed together.
  • Test along the edges that are now visible.

Testing on the edges is less painful because you don’t touch or pick up things with the edges of your fingers.

3. Clean Your Fingers Correctly

  • Don’t use alcohol on your fingertips because the drying action of the alcohol can hurt.

Other mistakes people make are licking their fingers to get out a test strip and not cleaning their fingers at all. (!)

Whatever was in your mouth or whatever you just touched is now on your finger and likely to be picked up by the test.

If you were just eating an orange, for instance, your test results will be high…you’re testing the orange, not your blood.

A study published in the journal Diabetes Care several years ago found that blood from unwashed hands had a greater than 10 percent difference in blood sugar levels between the first drop and the second drop, and that error was amplified if participants’ hands had recently touched fruit.

The solution for better diabetes control:

  • For the most accurate blood sugar testing, wash hands with soap and warm water and How To Check Your Blood Sugar Correctly-wash handsdry thoroughly right before testing.

4. Using the Same Finger All the Time

People choose to use the same finger and the same spot in part because everyone has a favorite and because calluses build up and cut down on the discomfort.

  • But – varying which fingers you use for testing is better.

The solution for better diabetes control:

  • Use a different finger each day or each time.

Switching fingers allows the pricked finger to heal and also helps to avoid pain caused by repeat jabs.

  • If your blood sugar readings are generally consistent, you can even try alternate site testing, such as using the palm of your hand, if you want to get away from your fingers periodically. But simply using different spots on the same finger can also prevent soreness.

5. Misusing Lancets and Test Strips

For the least pain and the most accurate results, you need the right blood sugar testing supplies:

  • How To Check Your Blood Sugar Correctly-suppliesLancets
  • An accurate glucose meter
  • Manufacturer-recommended test strips

Skimping may not give you correct results.

  • Lancets start out very sharp but quickly get dull and will hurt if you try to reuse them.
  • Using expired or poorly stored test strips can result in inaccurate readings.

Solutions: 

  • Use a fresh lancet, make sure test strips are stored in a closed container, and check the test strip expiration date before using.

6. Not Understanding Your Meter

Today’s glucose meters are more sophisticated in their accuracy, but easier to use than ever before.

  • Still, you need to check its accuracy once in a while and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for doing this correctly.
  • You also need to know the fine points on how to use it and care for it, and what the error messages mean.

The solution:

If you’re confused about the ins and outs of your meter, ask for help from your doctor, How To Check Your Blood Sugar Correctly-pharmacistdiabetes educator, or pharmacist (never underestimate your pharmacist! They are highly skilled and informed about all medications and testing equipment).

7. Testing Too Soon After Eating

Knowing when to test and why is an important key to improving your diabetes control.

  • Testing too soon after you’ve had a meal or a snack will give you results that are probably too high.

The solution for better diabetes control:

  • Test fasting blood sugar, and test every time before you eat.
  • Wait two hours after eating to get the best reading. Then you’ll begin to understand how much and which foods are altering those numbers.

8. Mindlessly Testing

If you test on a schedule without really knowing what those results are telling you, you are just wasting test strips.

Being a healthy diabetic calls for an investment of yourself to yourself, for yourself. No one can do it better.

You might have been given the recommendation to test once in the morning, before and after eating, and then before bed.

  • These are actually good times to test, as long as you’re learning from the results and you understand why you’re doing it.

For instance, results taken before bed and in the morning are related, but you need to know why and how so that you can make changes if necessary.

Solutions for better diabetes control:

  • Check in with your diabetes educator or doctor to talk about your results and what they mean.

Think of testing as a way to discover how your body responds to changes in medication, diet, activity, and sleep, rather than just a routine you’re required to follow.

You can do this. You can be successful, avoid complications and live the life you choose, with an investment in yourself and your condition.

We are here to help, I am here to help. Never hesitate to reach out.

How To Check Your Blood Sugar Correctly-help

 

 

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