Blood glucose monitoring
Controlling your blood glucose is a very important part of managing diabetes.
To self-test your blood glucose you need a blood glucose meter, a test strip or test cassette, and a finger pricker. Make sure you read and follow the instructions that are included in the product manual that accompanies your particular blood glucose meter.
To help ensure you get reliable and accurate results, follow these simple guidelines for proper testing:
- Wash your hands in warm water to remove any traces of substances which might otherwise interfere with your test results. Dry your hands thoroughly.
- Always use a small and well-formed blood drop. Don't let it spread.
- Apply the blood drop immediately after you have created it.
- Apply the blood drop to the centre of the test area gently and steadily.
If hand-washing facilities are not available, you can use alcohol-free hand wipes such as the Accu-Chek hand wipes to clean your fingers before you test your blood sugar.
Follow the instructions included with your finger pricker to get a drop of blood— which normally includes shaking your hands below the wrist or gently squeezing your finger a few times to help. While testing from the finger tip is most common, it is sometimes possible to use alternate site testing.
Alternate Site Testing (AST)
Some blood glucose meters allow you to use blood samples from other parts of the body, such as the palm, forearm, upper arm, thigh or calf. Always consult your healthcare professional before using sites other than your fingertip for blood glucose testing.
Other methods of testing and monitoring look at your blood glucose in the long-term. An HbA1c (also known as glycated haemoglobin or A1c) test gives you a picture of your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months.
The HbA1c test is not a substitute for self-monitoring. Regular highs and lows in blood glucose will not be obvious, and may mask one another resulting in an HbA1c result that is falsely favourable. Only self-monitoring can show how meals, physical activity, medications and stress affect your blood glucose over short periods of time. This provides more reference as you manage your diabetes.
Your healthcare professional will help you schedule HbA1c tests and together you can decide what testing schedule will work best for you.