How do you test for blood sugar?

Your diabetes treatment plan based on your doctor’s recommendations will determine how often you need to test your blood glucose levels.

The purpose of blood glucose testing is to make sure that your blood glucose levels are staying within a certain, healthy range. A blood glucose monitoring device can be a useful, day-to-day tool in testing these levels.


The products you need to test your blood sugar:

  • Blood glucose meter: The device that reads your blood glucose level.
  • Test strips: Disposable strips inserted into the blood glucose meter where you place your blood sample.
  • Lancet or lancing device: A device to prick your fingertip or alternative testing site to obtain a blood sample.
  • Control solution: A solution used in place of blood to test the accuracy of your blood glucose meter. 


While glucose monitoring devices have a variety of different features, the basic process for testing the blood sugar levels is as follows:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Place the testing strip into the meter.
  3. Use your lancing device to get a drop of blood, usually from the side of your fingertip.
  4. Touch the test strip with the drop of blood so that the strip will absorb it.
  5. See your blood sugar level on the meter’s display.
  6. Record your result.


American Diabetes Association target blood glucose ranges for nonpregnant adults with diabetes:*

Before meals: 70 – 130 mg/dL

After meals: <180 mg/dL

*Note: Your doctor will set your target ranges and tell you the best times to test. Remember, keeping a regular testing schedule is one of the most important things you can do to control your diabetes and prevent long-term complications.


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