Diabetes is a long-term disease that once you are diagnosed with one, you generally have the disease for life. This may sound alarming to most, but diabetes is one of those chronic diseases that can be controlled. With proper control of blood sugar levels, most patients usually lead quality lives. Most of them are given medications for maintenance, such as glucose-reducing drugs and insulin shots. Aside from these, they are also encouraged to live an active lifestyle and to regulate their diet and watch their weight.
Because most of these patients need to regularly test for their blood sugar levels, one convenient way to do this is to have a glucose monitoring device at home. This saves them the trip of going to the laboratory frequently. These devices are easily operated and most patients and their folks can be taught on how to obtain an adequate blood sample for glucose monitoring at home.
Compared with the laboratory test for fasting blood sugar where a specified amount of blood is usually taken from the arm vein of the patient, the home device requires much less blood.
Before you start home monitoring of your blood sugar levels, make sure you know the proper way of using the equipment, how frequently you should test, the right way of recording the measurements and when to visit your physician again.
You will need cotton, alcohol, glucose testing meter device, test strips and a lancet or lancing device. Be sure all of these are checked and present before doing the skin prick. It is also important to have the hands washed and dried before proceeding with the procedure.
The site for blood sample is usually the fingertip, but there are other devices which may allow the use of blood from the palm or forearm and other body areas. There are cases when getting blood from the finger becomes difficult even after pricking the area with the lancet. This can be due to cold exposure and other factors. To remedy this problem, you can wash your hand in warm water to promote blood flow to the area. You may also squeeze or milk your finger gently starting from its base down to the fingertip to get the same result. Some also recommend dangling the hand below the heart for 60 seconds.
The next step is to clean the area with alcohol first before pricking your finger. Using the lancet may be painful, but there are adjustable lancing devices available that deliver the skin prick quickly and with less pain. A single drop of blood is often enough to be placed in the glucose strip. If no blood comes out after pricking the finger, try giving the finger a gentle squeeze to obtain blood. The strip is then inserted in the glucose meter for reading. The level of blood glucose then appears in the monitor of the device. Some patients choose to record their results in a separate notebook, while others may just store their results in the said device. The lancet should then be disposed properly.
Most glucose meters come with illustrated instructions on how to do the step by step procedures at home. It is thus, recommended that this should be kept with the kit at all times, to use when needed and for future reference.