Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the USA because It has no cure and so it can only be managed by regular monitoring. This is why all diabetes patients need to learn about glucometers and also learn how to use glucometer at home.
What is a Glucometer?
Wikipedia says that a glucometer, also known as a glucose meter, blood glucose meter, or even the ‘finger stick machine’ by the uninitiated, is a medical device for determining the approximate concentration of glucose in the blood.
What are Glucometer Kits:
Glucometers normally come in the form of kits. Each Glucometer kit contains:
- Glucometer Machine
- Testing Strips
Additionally, you may also require:
- Lancet Pen
- Cotton Swabs
What is a Glucometer used for?
A glucometer is used to measure the blood sugar level, also called blood glucose level, of an individual. If we monitor a patient’s blood glucose level regularly then we can make informed medical decisions about the management of their diabetes.
Why Blood Sugar Level is Important?
The body loses its ability to absorb the glucose in our food in people with diabetes. Excess glucose stays in the blood, making the blood sugar level fluctuate abnormally in such individuals. You can accurately determine this level if you know how to use a blood sugar tester or a ‘gluco meter.’
Who Needs to Use a Glucometer?
Glucometer is essential medical equipment for all diabetic patients. No matter what type of diabetes they have or what age group or gender they belong to, it is important that they know what is a glucose meter and also how to use glucometer to check blood sugar at home.
Even patients with Prediabetes should monitor their sugar levels regularly if they want to succeed in reversing it. Learn more about how long does it take to reverse prediabetes
How to use glucometer at home?
Glucometers use test strips to determine real-time blood sugar values when we place a droplet of blood on them.
Let’s go through a step-by-step guide on how to use glucometer at home:
1. Setting up the Lancet Pen:
- Remove the cap from your lancet pen.
- Take a lancet and fix it into the now exposed head of the pen.
- Once it is fixed, remove the protective covering on the lancet.
- Place the cap back on the pen.
- Adjust the settings of the pen to control the depth of the prick.
2. Setting up the Glucometer:
- Turn on the glucometer device and make sure the batteries are good to go.
- Carefully take a testing strip and insert it into the glucometer.
- The glucometer will react to the test strip being entered.
3. Preparing for the prick:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with clean soapy water.
- Wait for your finger to dry up as moisture may affect the reading.
- Normally the readings are taken from the middle or ring finger.
- It is recommended you alternate between different fingers when you prick.
4. Pricking the finger:
- Place your finger on a firm surface
- Place the lancing pen on the side of your finger.
- Press the button to prick the finger.
- You may gently squeeze the finger and elevate it if the droplet is too small.
5. Applying on test strip:
- Gently place your finger on the test strip and allow it to absorb the droplet.
- Make sure the droplet is picked up by the test strip.
- Wait 5-7 seconds before removing your finger.
6. Recording of the reading:
- Wait for the reading to show up on the screen.
- Carefully record the reading.
7. Finishing up and disposal:
- Clean your finger with an alcohol swab.
- Dispose of the lancet and the test strip.
- Make sure to pack your glucometer and supplies with care to ensure safety.
- DO NOT reuse lancets or test strips.
Why Learn How to use Glucometer at Home:
- It is time taking to go to an outside facility.
- There are travel expenses and time investments.
- Maintaining a regular schedule when you go to outdoor facilities is harder.
- You lose the independence that comes with self-testing at home.
- Glucometers are generally reliable.
- It is easy to learn how to use a glucometer dependably.
How to Read a Glucose Meter and Interpret the Glucometer Reading:
It is important to know how to interpret a glucometer reading after you’ve learnt how to use glucometer at home. Glucometers display their readings in the units of mg/dL. Normal blood sugar values vary for healthy and diabetic individuals and also depend on how long ago someone took their meal, and other factors such as age, pregnancy, activity level, etc.
Expected Readings for Non-Diabetic Individuals:
- Fasting (not taken a meal for 8-10 hours) = 70 mg/dL – 100mg/dL
- Two Hours After Meal = 140 mg/dL or lower
Expected Readings for Diabetic Individuals:
- Fasting: 80mg/dL – 130 mg/dL.
- Two hours after a Meal: 180 mg/dL or lower
Avoiding Common Problems:
- Store your glucometer kit in a secure pouch in a cool and dry place.
- Make sure to use test strips that are compatible with your glucometer.
- Do NOT reuse test strips or lancets.
- Read the expiry on test strips and lancets before use.
- Clean your lancet pen after each use.
- Get in touch with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions regarding how to use glucometer at home.
Recording of Results:
Make sure you keep a record of your daily readings so your healthcare provider can use them to make decisions about your health. You can either keep a logbook or talk to your healthcare provider if they have a Remote Patient Monitoring Program.
Hopefully, this guide will help you learn how to use glucometer at home. If you still have any questions then feel free to reach out to AZZ Medical Associates at (609)-890-1050 for an appointment today where we have not only the best primary care doctors but also specialized Remote Patient Monitoring and Chronic Care Management Programs for our diabetic patients.
Frequently asked questions regarding How to Use Glucometer at Home:
What is the Normal Range for Blood Sugar?
For non-diabetic patients in fasting condition:
- Normal = 70mg/dL – 100 mg/dL
- Prediabetes = 100 mg/dL – 125 mg/dL
- Diabetes = Higher than 120mg/ dL
How often should you check your blood sugar at home?
Doctors may recommend you check your blood sugar anywhere between 2 to 10 times. Because it depends strictly on your current medical condition and treatment plan. So you should discuss this with your healthcare provider at length.
When should blood sugar be checked?
The blood sugar level is normally associated with meals. Healthcare providers normally recommend their patients check their sugar levels in the morning by fasting, after breakfast, other meals, before going to bed, or at other times as needed. The patient’s healthcare provider should determine the exact routine.
How can you make a lancet not hurt? / how to minimize pain when performing glucose monitoring?
- Make sure to alternate between your fingers when you prick.
- Make sure your finger is warm when you prick. It will hurt more the colder it is.
- Adjust the depth of the prick by rotating the cap of the lancet. If you can get the droplet through a shallower prick then you can adjust the settings accordingly.
- You can also use a shallower prick and then gently rub your finger to extract more blood; however, you should avoid excessive rubbing as it will cause more pain.
- You may also use a thinner lancet. Remember, the higher the gauge size of the lancet, the thinner a lancet is, so you can also try using a lancet with a bigger gauge size.
- If nothing works, then you can also use some less sensitive parts of the body like the palm, thigh, or arm but it is not recommended as the readings are less accurate for these parts.