Accurate blood sugar measurements, also known as blood glucose readings, are vital for maintaining good health for people with diabetes. Find out how.

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How to Get the Most Accurate Blood Sugar Reading


(DECEMBER 2013) Many diabetics rely on regular blood glucose testing to gauge their daily health and avoid long-term risks and complications associated with diabetes. Unfortunately, it’s common to have a hard time collecting an accurate reading. There are several factors to consider in order to get the most precise blood glucose results possible.

Storing Your Testing Materials

Blood glucose testing materials are sensitive to multiple environmental factors. Be sure to store yours in an area with consistent temperature and humidity conditions. Over time, even relatively minor fluctuations in these conditions can cause inaccurate readings. Dispose of test strips that have been sitting unused for more than 30 days after you open the container. 

Using Testing Supplies

The most important thing to remember is to only use strips that are specified to work with your meter. Not all strips and meters are interchangeable. Be sure to follow all provided directions closely. Even minor deviations could results in a false test result. A few minutes spent reading directions when you change meters or strips could save you a lot of confusion.

Always Test the Same Place

Some meters allow you to test in various spots on the body, but the fingertip is still the most accurate. It’s especially important to test the same place if you occasionally get results you find concerning. Testing different spots on the body, even one right after the other, can provide different results. Prepare the testing area by washing thoroughly. Residues on the skin can influence results. You’ll also want to test around the same time each day. Glucose levels can change depending on how long you’ve been awake, how many meals you’ve eaten and your activity level.

Collecting Your Sample

No diabetic enjoys poking their finger for a blood sugar test, but it’s important to do it right. Try not to hit your fingertip in the exact same place each time. This reduces the possibility of callouses. It doesn’t always have to be the pad of the finger, feel free to use the sides. Increase the blood flow to your fingertips by holding your hands down to your sides for a few minutes beforehand. You may also want to rub your fingertips to stimulate blood flow.

Following the Test

Make sure to write down your results after every test. Not only does this provide a record you can refer to, it may also provide important insights for your healthcare provider. If you feel the test results show something different from the way you feel, by all means, test again. The discomfort of pricking your finger once more is minimal compared to the potential health consequences. If you’re concerned about your results, call your physician.

Even the most conscientious diabetic runs the risk of needing emergency medical assistance at some point in his or her life. First responders will be better equipped to deliver the assistance you need if your medical ID bracelet indicates you are a diabetic.