Blood Glucose Test
Brief Description – You can do a blood sugar test at home using a blood glucose meter, which is a computerized device that measures the amount of glucose in a sample of your blood and displays it on a screen.
Why the Test is Performed
Keeping an eye on blood sugar levels has many benefits. The commonest reason is to monitor diabetes. But even non-diabetics can benefit from it too. For example, testing your blood sugar levels before and after meals helps you see how eating certain foods affect those levels. Knowing this can help you adjust your food choices and adjust your lifestyle.
How the Test is Performed
- To get a sample of your blood, a small needle called a lancet is used to poke the skin (usually on a finger or on your forearm) to get one drop of blood.
- The drop is placed on a testing strip which has been inserted into the glucose meter, and the blood glucose reading appears on the screen within a few seconds.
- Newer technologies are making it easier and less painful to perform the test. Adjustable lancets can make finger poking less painful by changing the depth to which the needle enters the skin, and certain meters can use blood drawn from a forearm or other body parts that are less sensitive than a fingertip for some people.
- In some cases, your doctor may want to get an even more detailed look at how your blood sugar levels change throughout the day and night.
- Wearable devices that measure blood sugar levels every 5 minutes are available. Then a computer printout of your blood sugar profile can be downloaded for your doctor to evaluate.How to Prepare For the Test
Preparation for this test depends on what you want to achieve. You may do your fasting blood sugar test. Here, you have to avoid food for a minimum of 8 hours and maximum of 12 hours. Checking your blood sugar within this time frame is the most accurate representation of your fasting blood glucose levels.
Your doctor may also ask you to check it 2 hours after a meal. If you check it at any time it is called a random blood sugar test. Ensure that you wipe the surface you intend to prick with a disinfectant (preferably methylated spirit).
During the Test
You will feel a little discomfort when you use the lancet to prick your finger. Care should be taken so that you don’t spill blood all over the place or stain surrounding clothes and furniture. It is not advisable to close your eyes to avoid spillage.
After the Test
Even though blood glucose meters can help you track your blood sugar test results, it’s still a good idea to write down the results. This makes it easier for you and your doctor to see patterns and trends in your blood sugar levels.
Writing down all your results in a log book or journal can help. If you prefer, you can even download special programs that allow you to track your blood sugar readings on your PDA or laptop. You might need to record other information too, such as what you were eating or how active you were. This information will help you learn more about how certain situations — like eating or exercising — affect your blood sugar control.
If you don’t have a bleeding disorder then it is a totally risk-free venture. However you should ensure that the surface you poked should not come in contact with sand or rust to avoid tetanus. This is an extremely rare problem though.