Glucose Monitoring: The Top 5 Tips

Knowing your blood glucose (BG) levels is an important first step to help you keep them at your target. Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to tracking your BG levels.

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Why is blood glucose monitoring important?

It’s difficult to keep your blood glucose levels under control if you don’t know what they are. That’s why the Canadian Diabetes Association now recommends that everyone living with diabetes should check their own blood glucose levels.  
The growing number of monitors on the market mean that it’s never been easier for you to test and track your own blood glucose results.
If you’re not sure how often you should be checking your blood glucose levels, you should ask your doctor or diabetes educator, or the Pharmacist at Walmart.
The Pharmacist at Walmart is always available to help you with any questions about your blood glucose.

Tip 1: Choose a meter that fits your needs

When choosing a blood glucose meter, it’s important to ask yourself some questions about how you’ll be using it. Keeping your needs in mind will make it easier as you sort through the many options now available on the market.
For example …
  • … if you know that you’ll need to test while you’re travelling, getting a meter that’s small and portable may be important to you.
  • … if you know that you have eyesight troubles or need to test at night, you might want to choose a meter with a larger screen, or one that is brightly lit.
  • … if you know that you have to test frequently, or sometimes have trouble getting blood for a test, you might want to choose a meter that can work with a very small blood sample.
  • … if you have arthritis in your hands, you might want to find a meter with easy-to-handle test strips.
  • … if you find it bothersome to log your results in a book, you might want to choose a meter that will automatically store or download results to a smartphone or computer.
Making a list of what’s important to you in a meter can help you purchase one that’s right for you.

Tip 2: Learn when to check

You should ask your doctor or diabetes educator about how often and what time(s) of day you should be checking your blood glucose levels. He or she may suggest checking it while you’re fasting, before and 2 hours after meals, or before bedtime. But each person’s situation is different, and it could change during the course of your life.
Generally speaking, you may need to monitor your BG levels more frequently if:
  • You’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes
  • You’re having trouble meeting your BG targets
  • You take insulin
  • You are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • You’re sick or in hospital
  • You’re starting a new medicine
Regardless of how often you’ll be checking, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re always ready. That’s why you should:
  • Keep your meter and supplies (lancets, test strips, meter instructions) with you at all times
  • Make sure your test strips are not out of date, and are stored carefully (out of sunlight, away from moisture, and in their original bottles)
Check your meter’s accuracy once a year. Bring it to the lab and test your blood glucose with the meter, just before or after they draw your blood to check your blood glucose. You can then compare the results from your machine and the laboratory.

Tip 3: Learn how to check

Of course, the specific steps you follow when you check your blood glucose levels will depend on the meter you’re using. That’s why it’s important to always follow the instructions that come with your meter.
Beyond that, there are several things you can do to ensure the safety and accuracy of your blood glucose testing:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you start, and dry them carefully. Food or medicine residue on your skin could make the test inaccurate.
  • Always use a fresh lancet to draw blood, and a fresh test strip. Don’t reuse.
  • If you experience bleeding, apply gentle pressure on the area until the bleeding stops.
Not sure how to use your new blood glucose meter? Just ask the Pharmacist at Walmart, who will be happy to show you how it works.

Tip 4: Take care of your fingertips

If you test your blood glucose frequently, you may find that your fingertips could get sore. Care for your fingertips can help prevent that:
  • Don’t reuse lancets. Reusing them can make them dull, which could make pricking your finger more painful.
  • Prick the side of your fingertip, not the pad. You’ll find it’s less painful.
  • Don’t squeeze your fingertip as a way of producing a quicker blood flow. Instead, try hanging your arm and hand down, and gently shaking and then rubbing your fingertips before you prick them, to increase the blood flow to your fingers. Washing your hands in warm water can also help.
Don’t always use the same finger. Rotating between fingers is a good idea, and if you have one finger that’s particularly sore, give it a rest for a while. You should use both hands – 10 fingers are better than 5.

If you have chronic finger pain from testing, talk to your doctor or the Pharmacist at Walmart. They may suggest a meter that can work with blood drawn from other parts of your body.

Tip 5: Track your results

Keeping a careful log or record of your test results is important. Some modern blood glucose meters can help you do this, by automatically storing results or downloading them to a computer or mobile device for you.
If you prefer to work on paper, you can print a diabetes log chart from the Canadian Diabetes Association, available here:
Or just ask the Pharmacist at Walmart to give you one.
Always remember:
  • Keep in mind your BG targets. Your doctor or diabetes educator will tell you what yours are, but for most people with diabetes, the target ranges are 4.0-7.0 mmol/L before meals, and 5.0-10.0 mmol/L two hours after meals.
Bring your diabetes logbook to your next appointment with your doctor or diabetes educator. They can help you understand what your pattern of test results means.

Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart can help answer your questions about your blood glucose levels and how to use the latest blood glucose meters... Just ask!

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This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

The pharmacist at Walmart does not endorse or recommend any sponsor or their products or services.
Any representation, performance claim, warranty or guarantee in any materials herein is the sole responsibility of the sponsor that has prepared such materials and is not independently verified by Walmart.

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ACCU-CHEK and ACCU-CHEK AVIVA are trademarks of Roche. ©2014 Roche Diagnostics. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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