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Easy Tips for Testing Your Blood Sugar

Whether you check your blood glucose level once a week, once a day, or 6 times a day, learning how to make testing easy and less painful may inspire you to test more often.

For people with diabetes, the knowledge that you gain from testing more often is the key to staying in control of your health. It helps you make informed decisions about medicine, food, and exercise. It helps you cope with the day-to-day demands of living with diabetes, you’ll feel better each day, and you’ll lower your risk for future diabetes complications.1 Here are some tips for getting the best results possible.

A guide: when to test

The standard times to test your blood sugar level include:2

  • Before breakfast (fasting)
  • Before lunch/dinner
  • Two hours after a meal
  • Before bed
  • Before and after rigorous exercise
  • When you don’t feel well

Other events that could require a blood sugar test include:

  • Changes to your routine while travelling
  • Changing or adjusting your insulin or medication
  • When you’re experiencing either high or low blood sugar symptoms
  • When you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Before and after surgical procedures
  • After dental procedures
  • Illness
  • Times of stress
  • Premenstrual

The best place to test

Wash and dry your hands before testing on the side of a fingertip. Alternate fingers and sides so that you don’t develop calluses, which could make it more difficult to get a good blood sample. You can also test on other parts of your body, like your forearm or your palm. If you’re using an Accu-Chek lancing device , it comes with a special cap to use only with alternate site testing.

Afraid of needles?

Does the sight of a needle cause you to feel anxious, nauseated, or faint? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, the stress of this phobia can interfere with your health, and your fears can give you what feels like a good reason to avoid your treatments or regular blood tests. Since avoiding your medicine is not an option, here are a few ways to get comfortable with needles.

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you the quickest, least painful way to lance your finger.
  • Use a lancing device. The needles are especially thin and coated for easier lancing.
  • Use a new lancet with every test. The tip of a used needle can become dull or bent if used repeatedly.
  • Insulin pump users only have to change their infusion site every 2-3 days, and can numb the injection site with ice.
  • If you’re getting blood drawn by a phlebotomist, let them know if technicians have had trouble finding a vein in the past.

Take care of your test strips.

Although Accu-Chek test strips are easy to handle, you do need to take some care with them to get the most accurate result possible. Take care to keep them at room temperature (not too hot or too cold) and keep them in the original container. The container cap should be sealed as much as possible to keep humidity from affecting them. They can expire as well. The test strip container label will list the expiration or “use by” date.

For more information on how taking care of your test strips is important, click this link.

Discover what works and what doesn’t.

Have your test results come back too high or too low, yet you feel just fine? Or are your test results in normal range, but you still don’t feel right? Don’t dismiss the results. Wash your hands, retest, and see if you get the same numbers before you take action. Over days and weeks, compare your readings to previous ones. Make note if you were ill, drank alcohol, experienced something stressful, or if you had just exercised, or anything like this that can also affect your blood sugar.3

The makers of Accu-Chek products offer several, simple, paper based  diabetes management tools that help you understand your blood sugar test results. Try the Accu-Check 3600 View®  . It can help you and your health care provider identify patterns for how things like stress, food, or exercise affect your test results. Bring these worksheets to your health care provider, and discuss them to make sure you are testing and treating correctly.

1International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes education module 1.2, 2011: Self Management Education. Available at:http://www.idf.org/education/resources/modules-2011/download Accessed June 30, 2015.

2Diabetes Australia. Blood Glucose Monitoring. Available at: http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Living-with-Diabetes/Type-1-Diabetes/Managing-Type-1-Diabetes/Blood-Glucose-Monitoring Accessed June 30, 2015

3Diabetes UK. What Affects Blood Sugar Levels. Available at: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/blood-glucose/what-affects-blood-glucose-levels.html Accessed June 30, 2015.

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