Slide show: Blood sugar testing
Gather your tools
Blood sugar testing is usually done with a needle called a lancet and an electronic glucose monitor. Start by gathering your supplies:
- Computer connecting cord (available with some glucose monitors)
- Glucose monitor carrying case
- Glucose monitor
- Lancing device
- Lancing device cap with dial to set depth of skin puncture
- Test strip
- Vial containing test strips
Wash your hands
Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dry them completely. If you don't have access to soap and warm water, use an alcohol pad to clean the area you plan to stick. Dry the area completely before pricking your skin.
Insert test strip
Remove a test strip from its container and fully insert the test strip into the monitor.
Some glucose monitors must be coded every time you open a new vial of test strips. If your monitor needs coding, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Prick your fingertip
Lancing devices can vary, but many devices use the type of lancet pictured here. First remove the cap and gently twist the round top of the lancet once. Insert it into the opening in the device. Twist the round top of the lancet again so that it breaks away, and remove it from the lancet. Place the lancet device cap onto the lancing device.
Use the depth dial on the top of the lancing device to select the penetration depth of your lancing tip. Before puncturing your finger, hold your hand downward and gently shake it for several seconds, to promote blood flow to the fingertips. Place the tip covering the lancet on the side of your fingertip to avoid making the frequently used part of your finger sore. Press the button to discharge the lancet.
Depending on your glucose monitor, you may be able to test your blood glucose from other sites, such as your forearm or thigh. Check with your doctor or diabetes educator to find out if alternate site testing is right for you.
Touch test strip to blood
Hold your hand down to encourage a drop of blood to emerge. If the blood doesn't come out easily, gently squeeze the end of your finger. Touch the drop of blood with the test strip. The blood will be absorbed by the wicking action of the test strip.
View your results
Within a few seconds, the monitor displays your blood glucose level on a screen. If you think something's not right, do a quality control test according to the manufacturer's instructions, and check the owner's manual for other troubleshooting issues.
Discard your lancet
Place the used lancet in a safe container — one that prevents people from sticking themselves. Also, safely discard needles and syringes that are used to inject insulin or diabetes medications. Safe disposal boxes are available at health care supply stores and many pharmacies.
Alternatively, you could use a heavy-duty plastic container, such as an empty laundry detergent bottle. When the container is full, ask your waste management company about proper disposal. Containers with used lancets and needles are considered hazardous waste.
Record your results
Each time you perform a blood test, log your results. Record the date, time, test results, medication and dosage, and diet and exercise information. Some people use a notebook, record book or journal. Or, depending on your blood glucose monitor, you may be able to download the information to your computer or transfer the information to a mobile device or an online tracking program. The more complete your records are, the more useful they'll be.
Bring this record when you visit your doctor or other members of your diabetes health care team.
Store your equipment
You may want to keep your diabetes supplies in a small carrying case for easy access. Take special care to keep your equipment out of hot or cold places, such as the glove compartment in your car in summer or winter.
When you travel, place your medication prescription with your glucose testing kit. Carry these items with you, rather than stowing them in your luggage. Diabetes-related medication, equipment and supplies are permitted through airport security checkpoints.
Last Updated Oct 11, 2019