If you have diabetes, it’s important to frequently check your blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, and blindness.

how to check blood sugar at home with a glucometer
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It’s important to know how to use a glucometer at home since visiting a doctor’s office so frequently isn’t an option. Monitoring blood sugar levels at home is much easier than the traditional method of taking samples to the doctor for laboratory testing, and it does not take long for the results to reach the patient either.

A glucometer is an electronic device that helps us with measuring blood glucose levels even from home. Glucometers are also known as blood sugar monitors. They are small, compact, and portable. You can even carry them in your handbag.

Who Needs to Use a Glucometer?

Even though we say that only diabetics need to use a glucometer, this is not entirely true. Doctors often recommend that people with prediabetes and gestational diabetes should also monitor their blood sugar levels. If you suffer from any of these diseases, you should get a glucometer and measure your blood glucose at home.

If you are not sure if you need to use a glucometer, talk to your doctor. He or she will help you understand your risks and decide if monitoring your blood sugar levels is appropriate.

How Does a Glucometer Help You?

With a glucometer or blood glucose meter, you can check your blood sugar level at any time of the day. So you don’t have to wait for a lab appointment or fast before you can have your blood glucose checked.

A glucometer is very useful for people with diabetes because it can help them:

  • Manage their blood sugar levels
  • Avoid low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
  • Prevent high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia)
  • Detect early signs of diabetes
  • Find out if their diabetes treatment is working

How Does A Glucometer Work?

A glucometer measures the amount of sugar (glucose) in a small drop of your blood. This is done by a process called electrochemical sensing.

To get a reading, you need to prick your finger with a small needle (lancet). This will draw a small drop of blood. You then place this drop of blood on a test strip. The test strip is then inserted into the blood glucose meter. The glucometer will then give you a reading within seconds.

It is important to know that the results of a blood glucose meter are not always 100% accurate. Therefore, you should have your blood glucose level checked by a doctor at least twice a year.

How to Check Blood Sugar at Home Using a Glucometer

Before we discuss how to use a glucometer at home, it is essential to understand the different parts of the device.

Parts of Glucometer:


  1. Glucometer (Monitor)
  2. Test strip
  3. Lancing device
  4. Lancet
  5. Alcohol swabs
  6. Logbook

Let’s take a quick look at each one of these in turn:

  • Glucometer (Monitor): This is the primary device. It is used to measure the amount of sugar in your blood.
  • Test Strip: The test strip is inserted into the glucometer. It is used to collect a small sample of your blood.
  • Lancing Device: The lancing device is used to prick your finger and draw a small drop of blood.
  • Lancet: The lancet is a tiny needle that is used with the lancing device.
  • Alcohol Swabs: Alcohol swabs are used to clean your finger before you prick it.
  • Logbook: A logbook is used to record your blood sugar readings.

Now that you know the different parts of a glucometer let’s look at how to use it.

Step-By-Step Guide to Using a Glucometer at Home

Step 1: Prepare the Lancing Device


To prepare the lancing device, proceed as follows:

  1. Hold the lancing device with one hand and open its cap.
  2. Then insert a new sterile lancet into the lancet carrier.
  3. Then turn the protective cover of the sterile lancet and remove it.
  4. Finally, put the cap back on.

The lancet is now in the lancing device and ready for use.

Step 2: Prepare the Glucometer With Test Strip


Follow these steps to prepare the blood glucose meter with the test strip:

  1. First, wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Dry your hands thoroughly.
  3. Then take a test strip out of the container.
  4. Be sure to handle the test strip carefully so that you do not damage it.
  5. Then, insert the test strip into the glucometer.
  6. The glucometer should now be turned on.
  7. Match the code on the test strip container with the code on the blood sugar meter screen. Matching the code is important because it ensures that the test results are accurate.

Step 3: Perform the Finger Stick


Before you test your blood sugar levels, you need to select a finger and clean it thoroughly.

The middle and ring fingers are most commonly used to test blood glucose levels.

Follow these steps to clean the selected finger:

  1. First, wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Then dry your hands with a clean towel.
  3. Then use an alcohol swab to clean the selected finger.

Allow the selected finger to air dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 4: Prick the Finger With the Lancing Device


After you have selected and cleaned a finger, you need to prick it with the lancing device.

To do this, proceed as follows:

  1. First, hold the lancing device in one hand.
  2. Then hold the selected finger with the other hand and stretch it out.
  3. Then place the lancing device on the side of the selected finger.
  4. Finally, press the trigger to release the lancet and prick the finger.

Step 5: Apply the Blood to the Test Strip


After pricking your finger, you need to apply the blood to the test strip.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. First, hold the test strip in one hand.
  2. Then apply the blood to the end of the test strip with the other hand.
  3. Make sure that you apply enough blood to cover the entire test strip.
  4. Wait 5-7 seconds before proceeding to the next step.

Step 6: Read the Results


After applying the blood to the test strip, the glucometer will automatically start processing the results.

Wait until the glucometer displays the results on the screen.

Once the results are displayed, compare the results with the table provided. Now you can remove the test strip.

Step 7: Removing and Disposing of the Test Strip and Lancet


After you test your blood sugar level, you must remove and discard the test strip.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. First, remove the test strip from the glucometer.
  2. Then dispose of the test strip safely (do not reuse the test strips).

Once you have removed and disposed of the test strip, you must remove and dispose of the lancet.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. First, open the cap of the lancing device.
  2. Then remove the used lancet from the lancing device.
  3. Then dispose of the lancet safely (lancets must not be reused).
  4. Finally, put the cap back on the lancing device.

Some Important Precautions when Using Glucometer at Home

While testing your blood sugar levels, it is important to take some precautions.

  • Read the instructions that come with your blood glucose meter carefully.
  • If you do not understand the instructions, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for help.
  • Also, be sure to use only the lancets and test strips recommended for your glucometer.
  • Do not reuse lancets and test strips.
  • Clean the lancing device after each use.
  • Store your glucometer and accessories in a cool, dry place.
  • Look for the expiration date on the test strips and lancets before using them.
  • Do not use expired test strips or lancets.
  • If you have any questions about the proper use of your glucometer properly, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

FAQs about Checking Blood Sugar at Home with a Glucometer

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You can test blood sugar at home using a glucometer. Test strips should be inserted into your meter. Use the needle (lancet) provided with your test kit to prick the side of your fingertip. Touch the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and hold it there. After a few seconds, your blood sugar level will be displayed on the meter's screen.

Yes, you can use a glucometer at home to test blood sugar even if you don't have diabetes. But home testing isn't completely accurate, so you can't completely rely on blood glucose meters alone. So it's better to get tested in a laboratory.

With a CGM or flash monitor, you can check your blood sugar level without finger pricks or needles. The market is filled with several options. Using these devices, you can measure the level of sugar in your blood by measuring the level of sugar in your interstitial fluid.

You can check blood sugar without a meter using one of the following tools:

  1. Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) - An abdomen-based system inserts a tiny sensor under the skin.
  2. Freestyle Libre - similar to a CGM but needs a scanner to get the values.
  3. Urine test - this can detect sugar but can't provide the exact sugar levels.

Yes, you can monitor your blood glucose through Apple and Android apps if you use a CGM like Freestyle Libre, Nutrisense, Dexcom G6, and others that connect to your phone via NFC or WiFi.

It is recommended by the World Health Organization that blood sugar tests are performed with the middle and ring fingers (second and third fingers). Due to the thin skin on your little finger, you may want to avoid using it.

Yes! You can check your blood sugar level with a finger prick test using a Glucometer or with an electronic blood glucose monitor called a flash glucose monitor or a CGM. Checking blood sugar level at home is quite a common thing these days.

Analyzing results
  1. Before a meal in the morning or after fasting: 80–130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)
  2. 70-130 mg/dl before meals.
  3. After two hours of eating: Below 180 mg/dl.
  4. Before going to bed: Under 120 mg/dl.
  5. The HbA1c level should be below 7.0 percent.
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