Blood glucose testing allows people with diabetes to measure their blood glucose (sugar) levels at various times throughout the day to make sure they are within their target range.
Staying in the target range helps avoid health problems related to low blood sugar (which can include shakiness, dizziness, and even unconsciousness or death) and high blood sugar (which over the long term can lead to kidney, heart, eye, and nerve damage).
Blood glucose testing is done using a blood glucose meter, which is a small portable machine that can be used at home or taken with you wherever you go.
The frequency of testing depends on the type of diabetes you have and the type of medication therapy you are on. Talk to your doctor about how often you should test.
Risks and precautions
There aren't many risks to be worried about regarding blood glucose testing. You should always wash your hands with soap and water before pricking your skin to avoid infection. You can also prevent infection by never using a lancet more than once.
To avoid getting hard spots on your fingertips from frequent testing, try to use a different finger or different pricking site each time. The prick may hurt a little but you can minimize this by pricking the side of your finger, not the tip. Some blood glucose meters also allow you to test on sites other than your fingers, such as your palm or forearm.
Before the test
Before the test, wash your hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly. You can also clean the test site with alcohol.