What Is Blood Sugar Monitoring?
Blood sugar monitoring is the process of testing samples of your blood to find out how much glucose or sugar is present in your body at any given time. Monitoring is done with a device known as a glucometer or blood sugar monitor. There are many types of glucometers available on the market today. Your doctor will likely recommend a brand and model for you to use on a daily basis to monitor your blood sugar levels.
With most glucometers, you'll prick your finger or another area of your body with a small needle called a lancet
. Then, you'll place a drop of blood on a small test strip
and insert the strip into the monitor. Within a few seconds, the glucometer will display your blood sugar reading. Some monitors store this information for later use, and the latest models can even send information to your computer for tracking with diabetes management software
Why Do I Need to Monitor My Blood Sugar?
At-home blood sugar monitoring is a very common part of treatment plans for diabetes for several reasons. If you take insulin, you'll need to check your blood sugar levels to know how large of a dose is required. Monitoring your blood sugar can help you determine if your sugar levels are dangerously high or low, so that you can take quick action to protect your health. By studying trends in blood sugar levels, your doctor can modify your treatment plan to ensure best results. You can also use the information provided by the glucometer to determine how well changes to your diet and physical fitness levels are helping you control the symptoms of diabetes.
How Do Glucometers Work?
While there are many types of glucometers available on the market, most function in the same way. The test strips that you insert into the monitor contain an enzyme called glucose oxidase. It reacts to glucose in your blood. When the test strip is placed inside of the glucometer, it activates an electrode. This electrode can sense how strong the reaction is between the blood glucose and the glucose oxidase. The stronger the reaction, the higher the number that is displayed on the screen will be.
Tips for Blood Sugar Testing
In order to get the best results from testing your blood sugar at home, you must adhere to your doctor's or health care provider’s guidelines regarding when and how often to test. Keep your diabetic testing supplies in a safe place where they will not be exposed to hot or cold temperatures. Always store test strips in their original containers with the lids closed to protect them from dirt and moisture in the air. Read the instructions that accompany your diabetes kit or system and follow all of the recommendations for maintenance and proper use.
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