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Home Blood Glucose Test: About This Test

What is it?

A home blood glucose test measures the amount of a type of sugar, called glucose, in your blood.

Why is this test done?

People who have diabetes need to check the amount of glucose in their blood. A home blood glucose test is an easy way to test your blood at home or when you are away from home. The results help you know when to take action to keep your blood glucose levels in a target range.

How can you prepare for the test?

  • Check the expiration date on the bottle of testing strips. Do not use test strips that have expired.
  • Match the code number on the testing strips bottle with the number on the meter. If the numbers do not match, follow the directions with the meter for changing the code number.

What happens before the test?

The supplies you will need for testing blood glucose include:

  • A blood glucose meter.
  • Testing strips. These are made to be used with a specific model of meter.
  • Sugar control solutions. Some meters require a specific solution. Many new meters are made to operate without a control solution.
  • Short needles called lancets for pricking your skin.
  • A pen-sized holder for the lancet (lancet device), which positions the lancet and controls how deeply it goes into your skin.
  • Clean cotton balls. These are used to stop the bleeding from the testing site.

What happens during the test?

A home blood glucose test involves pricking your finger, palm, or forearm with a lancet to collect a drop of blood. The blood drop is placed on a test strip, which you insert into the blood glucose meter. The instructions for testing are slightly different for each blood glucose meter model. Follow the instructions that came with your meter.

  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water. Dry them well with a clean towel. You may also use an alcohol wipe to clean your finger or other site, but make sure your hands are dry before the test.
  • Insert a clean lancet into the lancet device.
  • Remove a test strip from the test strip bottle. Replace the lid immediately to keep moisture away from the other strips.
  • Follow the instructions that came with your meter to get it ready.
  • Use the lancet device to stick the side of your fingertip with the lancet. Do not stick the tip of your finger. Some blood sugar meters use lancet devices that take the blood sample from other sites, such as the palm of the hand or the forearm. But the finger is usually the most accurate place to test blood sugar.
  • Put a drop of blood on the correct spot on the test strip.
  • Apply pressure with a clean cotton ball to stop the bleeding.
  • Follow the directions that came with the meter to get the results.
  • Write down the results and the time that you tested your blood. Some meters will store the results for you.

What else should you know about the test?

Diabetes Canada recommends that you stay within the following blood glucose level ranges. But depending on your health, you and your doctor may set a different range for you.

For most adults (non-pregnant)

  • Fasting and before meals: 4.0 to 7.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/L)
  • 2 hours after meals: 5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L or 5.0 to 8.0 mmol/L if A1c targets are not being met

For women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who become pregnant or have diabetes related to pregnancy (gestational diabetes)

  • Fasting and before meals: Less than 5.3 mmol/L
  • 1 hour after meals: Less than 7.8 mmol/L
  • 2 hours after meals: Less than 6.7 mmol/L

How long does the test take?

  • The blood glucose meter will show the results of the test in a minute or less.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.