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How To Check Your Blood Sugar At Home

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What To Do For A Low Blood Sugar Reading

How to test blood sugar at home with a glucometer

You have low blood sugar when you get a reading below 70 mg/dl. Without treatment, this can damage the nervous system and cause seizures. If your blood sugar drops to this level and you are an adult, you need to consume about 15 grams of carbohydrates to raise it to 70 mg/dl or higher.

Wait 15 minutes and check your blood sugar. If it is still lower than 70 mg/dl, consume an additional 15 g of carbs. Repeat these steps until your reading is 70 mg/dl or more. Eat a snack until your next meal.

If you often have low blood sugar levels, check your blood sugar level before driving and address it if it is low.

Follow Your Diabetes Meal Plan

Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team. Following a meal plan will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Choose fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, chicken or turkey without the skin, fish, lean meats, and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt. Learn more about eating, diet, and nutrition with diabetes.

Understanding Results Of Blood Sugar Testing

Your healthcare provider will determine your specific blood glucose target levels. However, in general, blood sugar should be between 80 and 130 mg/dL before a meal and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after you eat.

Low blood sugar occurs when blood sugar levels are below 70 mg/dL. Severe hypoglycemiabelow 54 mg/dLcan lead to a life-threatening emergency.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include:

  • Racing heartbeat

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How Do I Know If I Have Diabetes

Your doctor may suspect you have diabetes if you have some risk factors for diabetes, or if you have high levels of blood sugar in your urine. Your blood sugar levels may be high if your pancreas is producing little or no insulin , or if the body is not responding normally to insulin .

Getting diagnosed begins with one of three tests. In most cases, your doctor will want to repeat a test that is high in order to confirm the diagnosis:

  • A fasting glucose test is a test of your blood sugar levels taken in the morning before you have eaten. A level of 126 mg/dL or higher may mean that you have diabetes.
  • An oral glucose tolerance test entails drinking a beverage containing glucose and then having your blood glucose levels checked every 30 to 60 minutes for up to 3 hours. If the glucose level is 200 mg/dL or higher at 2 hours, then you might have diabetes.
  • The A1c test is a simple blood test that shows your average blood sugar levels for the past 2-3 months. An A1c level of 6.5% or higher may mean you have diabetes.

Your doctor may also suggest a zinc transporter 8 autoantibody test. This blood test — along with other information and test results — can help determine if a person has type 1 diabetes instead of another type. The goal of having the ZnT8Ab test is a prompt and accurate diagnosis, and that can lead to timely treatment.

Drink Water And Stay Hydrated

Home Blood Sugar Test Kit Photograph by Science Photo Library

Drinking enough water could help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.

In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out any excess sugar through urine.

One review of observational studies showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk of developing high blood sugar levels (

34 ).

You can do so at home using a portable blood glucose meter, which is known as a glucometer. You can discuss this option with your doctor.

Keeping track allows you to determine whether you need to adjust your meals or medications. It also helps you learn how your body reacts to certain foods .

Try measuring your levels regularly every day and keeping track of the numbers in a log. Also, it may be more helpful to track your blood sugar in pairs for example, before and after exercise or before and 2 hours after a meal.

This can show you whether you need to make small changes to a meal if it spikes your blood sugar, rather than avoiding your favorite meals altogether. Some adjustments include swapping a starchy side for non-starchy veggies or limiting them to a handful.


Checking your blood glucose and maintaining a daily log enables you to adjust foods and medications when necessary to better manage your blood sugar levels.

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Several Methods Can Be Used To Test Blood Sugar

There are a number of different methods that can be used to check your blood sugar, and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, some people use the finger prick method while others will check their levels using a continuous glucose monitor. The best way for you to check your blood sugar is going to depend on your personal preference. And weve included information about both types in this article.

Finger Prick Method

The finger prick method is one of the most common ways to check blood sugar levels. This method involves pricking your finger with a needle and then placing the blood on a test strip. The test strip will then give you a reading of your blood sugar level.

This method is often used because it is quick and easy to do. It also doesnt require any special equipment or supplies. However, it can be painful to prick your finger, and it can also be difficult to get an accurate reading if your fingers are wet or sweaty.

If youre looking for a fast and easy way to check your blood sugar levels, the finger prick method may be the best option for you. Just make sure to keep your fingers dry and clean to get the most accurate reading.

Continuous Glucose Monitor

A continuous glucose monitor is a device that measures blood sugar levels continuously. This type of monitor is often used by people with diabetes because it gives a more accurate reading than the finger prick method.

What Are The Kidneys And What Do They Do

Healthy kidneys filter about a half cup of blood every minute, removing wastes and extra water to make urine. The urine flows from each kidney to the bladder through a pair of thin tubes called ureters, one on each side of your bladder. Your bladder stores urine. Your kidneys, ureters, and bladder are part of your urinary tract system.

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Whats A Continuous Glucose Monitor

A continuous glucose monitor is a wearable device that measures glucose every few minutes, all day and night. A CGM uses a thread-like sensor thats put under the skin and secured in place. Sensors can stay in place for 1014 days before you replace them.

Instead of measuring glucose in the blood directly, a CGM measures the amount of glucose just beneath the skin in fluid surrounding the cells, called the interstitial fluid. Heres how it works: As we digest carbohydrates, glucose enters the bloodstream. Then, it moves into the interstitial fluid on its way to all the cells in the body. It takes a little time for the glucose to move from the bloodstream into the interstitial fluid, so a glucose measurement taken with a CGM will be 510 minutes behind a blood glucose measurement. The benefit of a CGM is that because it measures glucose so often, it gives a more complete picture of how a persons glucose level changes throughout the day.

People with diabetes often choose a CGM because:

When Would I Need A Blood Glucose Test

How to check your blood sugar glucose at home. OneTouch Verio Flex kit.

There are three main reasons why you may need a blood glucose test:

  • Your healthcare provider may have ordered routine bloodwork called a basic metabolic panel or a comprehensive metabolic panel , which both include a glucose blood test.
  • You may be having symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar, which could indicate diabetes or another condition.
  • If you take a long-term medication that affects your blood sugar levels, such as corticosteroids, you may need routine glucose blood tests to monitor your levels.

The most common use of a blood glucose test is to screen for Type 2 diabetes , which is a common condition. Certain people are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you have risk factors, your provider will likely recommend regular screening no matter your age. The American Diabetes Association recommends regular screening for anyone age 35 or older.

Your provider will also order a blood glucose test if you have symptoms of high blood sugar or low blood sugar .

Symptoms of diabetes and high blood sugar include:

  • Feeling very thirsty .
  • Intense hunger.
  • Anxiousness or irritability.

You need to consume carbohydrates to treat hypoglycemia, such as a banana or apple juice. Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.

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When Should You Check Blood Sugar

If you have diabetes, at home tests should be done before a meal, one to two hours after a meal, and at bedtime. Type 1 and type 2 diabetics who use insulin medication should check their blood sugar at least four times a day.

For those who have prediabetes, or at risk for developing diabetes, your blood sugar should be checked through routine blood work at a yearly doctor’s exam. If you’re not at risk for diabetes, glucose levels can be checked every three years.

“I wouldn’t recommend that the general public be checking their blood glucose to figure out what their risk is,” says Mathioudakis. “But certainly people with diabetes, and especially people with diabetes that have medications that can really lower their blood glucose, they should be checking.”

For more information, read our article about on what’s considered healthy and normal blood sugar levels.

How To Check Blood Sugar At Home Without A Meter

  • Get a glass of water.
  • Measure the water into a cup and bring it to a boil for about 2 minutes.
  • Strain the boiled water into a test tube and pour some of it on the testing strip, if your blood sugar is too high, you will see that the solution turns red or pinkish in color and sticks to the testing strip.
  • Test your blood sugar about 5-10 minutes after eating or drinking something that contains carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, or fruit juice.
  • When you are done with testing your blood sugar do not discard the used test strips immediately place them in an airtight container and keep them at room temperature for up to 4 weeks in case you need to use them again for testing your blood sugar level at home without meter.
  • You can use the strips for testing your blood sugar level at home without a meter for up to 4 weeks after opening the package, but still, keep a spare strip or two in case you need to test your blood sugar level at home without a meter.
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    Test Your Blood Sugar Level

    If youre like most people, you probably use a blood sugar meter to track blood sugar levels. But there are other ways to check blood sugar levels without a meter. In this guide, youll learn how to read blood sugar levels in the comfort of your own home. Youll also find out how to test your blood sugar levels in a variety of scenarios, including when youre fasting, during exercise, or after eating a low-carbohydrate meal.

    Tips For Getting Accurate Results

    Blood Sugar Monitoring, Blood Sugar Tester, Home Blood Glucose ...

    Many factors can affect the accuracy of your blood sugar test results, such as:

    • Following test instructions properly
    • Environmental factors
    • How you store testing supplies
    • Certain substances in your system, such as Tylenol , vitamin C, or uric acid
    • How hydrated you are

    Be sure to follow your testing instructions closely and dispose of testing products that are expired or not working properly.

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    How To Get The Most Out Of Your Blood Glucose Readings

    Keeping track of your blood sugar alerts you to changes that need to be addressed right away. It also helps you see, in real-time, how different thingslike certain types of food, exercise, and stressaffect your blood sugar for better or for worse. This information is valuable for helping you adjust your lifestyle to keep your levels in the target range and prevent common but serious complications from type 2 diabetes.

    How Do I Measure Blood Sugar

    If you have diabetes, you probably already keep a watchful eye on your blood sugar through the use of a continuous glucose monitor or a blood sugar meter . Blood sugar measurement is also typically included in routine lab work for people without diabetes your physician will usually order a glycated hemoglobin test, which measures your average blood sugar over the past two to three months.

    Say your A1C test comes back with no sign of diabetes constantly measuring your blood sugar can still be helpful. For instance, some people experiment with using a CGM to see how their body responds to different types of food. However, its good to note that this is a fairly cost-intensive way of figuring out your nutrition, and writing down a food diary that includes how you felt after each meal will also help you figure out what to eat.

    Check out these blood sugar monitors if youre looking for recommendations on how to keep track of your levels at home.

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    Preventing High Blood Sugars

    Everyone with diabetes experiences high blood sugars sometimes there are simply too many variables in the human body out of your control to prevent them altogether.

    That being said, there are a few guidelines we can all follow to minimize the frequency of high blood sugars:

    • Avoid full-sugar beverages including soda, juice, coffee drinks, iced tea, etc.
    • Choose your carbohydrates carefully starchy carbs from pasta, candy, bread, desserts, etc. will spike your blood sugar the most
    • Take your medications as prescribed and contact your healthcare team if you miss a dose to determine if you can take it late
    • Exercise daily even a 20-minute walk makes a big difference on a daily basis
    • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration

    And of course, if youre experiencing high blood sugars are a daily basis and youre unsure of the cause, talk to your healthcare team about making adjustments in your diabetes management regimen. A slight increase in your medications can have a big impact!

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    How Can I Check My Blood Sugar

    How to Test Your Blood Sugar At Home

    Use a blood sugar meter or a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar. A blood sugar meter measures the amount of sugar in a small sample of blood, usually from your fingertip. A CGM uses a sensor inserted under the skin to measure your blood sugar every few minutes. If you use a CGM, youll still need to test daily with a blood sugar meter to make sure your CGM readings are accurate.

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    What Is Normal Fasting Blood Sugar And What Is A Diabetes Blood Sugar Level

    The results of the fasting blood sugar test will come back as a number:

    • 99 mg/dL or lower: This is a normal fasting blood sugar level.
    • 100125 mg/dL: Fasting blood sugar in this range typically indicates prediabetes. This means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
    • 126 mg/dL or above: This indicates high blood sugar, the main sign of diabetes.

    If you have a high fasting blood sugar level, your healthcare provider may repeat the test to make sure. If the test reveals that you have prediabetes, your healthcare provider will recommend you repeat the fasting blood sugar test every year or two. The results will help you know whether you are progressing to Type 2 diabetes.

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    When Should You Test Your Blood Sugar

    It depends on which type of diabetes you have:

    • Type 1 diabetes. Itâs up to your doctor. They could suggest you test anywhere between four and 10 times a day. For example, you could test before meals and snacks, before and after exercise, before bed, and even during the night. You may also need to check more often if youâre sick, making changes to your daily routine, or starting a new medication.
    • Type 2 diabetes. It depends on what you take to treat your diabetes:
    • Insulin. The doctor may tell you to test a few times a day, depending on the type and amount of insulin you use. Youâll probably test before meals and at bedtime if you’re taking multiple daily injections. You may need to test only twice daily, before breakfast and dinner, if you only use a long-acting insulin.
    • Medications. If you use drugs to manage diabetes, your doctor will tell you how often to check your blood sugar.
    • Lifestyle changes. If youâre relying on diet and exercise, you may not need to test your blood sugar daily.

    Show Sources

    American Diabetes Association: “Choosing a Blood Glucose Meter,” tion: “Standards of Medial Care in Diabetes — 2014,” “A1C and eAG,” âChecking Your Blood Glucose.â

    Mayo Clinic: âBlood sugar testing: Why, when and how,â âType 2 diabetes.â

    The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

    National Diabetes Foundation Program.

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