Blood Glucose Monitoring
Blood Glucose Monitoring

Why is this procedure done?

Blood glucose monitoring is a way to check the levels of sugar in your blood, especially if you have diabetes. It is also called blood sugar monitoring. You use a device called a glucometer to check your sugar level. The goal is to keep your blood sugar levels close to normal.This can help you avoid problems.
You can keep a diary with the time of day and your blood sugar readings. Your blood sugar levels go up and down throughout the day.By checking your blood sugar level, you can see how diet, exercise, and drug treatment may change blood sugar. With routine blood sugar monitoring, your doctor can see how well you are doing with keeping your blood sugar levels normal.
Your doctor will tell you what times of day to test your blood sugar. Common times are when you first wake-up but before eating, before other meals, 1 to 2 hours after a meal, or at bedtime.
You should also check your blood sugar if you have:

  • Signs of low blood sugar, like feeling dizzy, shaky, confused, or sweating a lot
  • Signs of high blood sugar, like feeling sleepy, having blurred eyesight, passing urine often, or unusual hunger or thirst

What will the results be?

You will learn what your blood sugar level is. Ask your doctor what are normal blood sugar levels for you. This most often depends on time of day and when you last ate. The results will help you decide what you need to do. If your blood sugar level is:

  • Low, you may need to take glucose or have something to eat to bring your blood sugar back up to normal. You may need to call your doctor and change how much drug you take. Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator so you know what to do before you have a low blood sugar level.
  • High, you may need to take a drug or change the dose to help bring the sugar level down. Also, review each number to see how food, activity, stress, and drugs have affected it. Talk to your doctor or a diabetes educator about your results.
  • Normal, you may continue with your regular actions.

What happens before the procedure?

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Use an alcohol pad to clean the finger you are going to stick.

What happens during the procedure?

    • Stick the side of your clean fingertip with a fresh small needle or lancet. You will feel a sharp stick and a little discomfort.
    • Some lancets work by themselves. You do not need to stick yourself
    • Get a drop of blood. You may have to squeeze your finger to get the drop.

  • Touch the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood. Put it into the meter and wait for the result. Follow your meter’s directions for use. They may not be the same as these directions.
  • The meter will show the result of your blood sugar levels.
  • Throw the needle or lancet away in a special sharps container, coffee can, or laundry soap bottle.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Stop the bleeding after you get your sample. Put a small amount of pressure on your finger.
  • Record your sugar result in your diary with the date and time. You may wish to write down what you ate and when, when you took your drugs, how active you have been, or any illness you have.

What follow-up care is needed?

Your doctor may ask you to make visits to the office to check on your progress. Be sure to keep these visits. Share your blood sugar results with your doctor. Your doctor may want to change how much drug you take based on the results.

What problems could happen?

  • Infection
  • Small amount of bleeding

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of low blood sugar. These include anger, shaking, a fast heartbeat, confusion, or sweating. Keep hard candies, glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or juice on hand for low blood sugar.
  • Signs of high blood sugar. These include sleepiness, blurry eyesight, passing urine more often, increased thirst, breath has a fruity sweet smell, upset stomach and throwing up, dizziness, or passing out.
  • If your blood sugars are running higher or lower than is usual for you. Your doctor may want to change your drugs or dosages.

Where can I learn more?

American Diabetes Association

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Reference: Blood glucose monitoring, Lexicomp, Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc