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Tips & Tricks for Glucose Monitoring

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Helpful hints from our expert team of diabetes care and education specialists and experienced people with diabetes.

Written By: ADCES staff. Supported by LifeScan Institute, LLC.

In order to maximize the benefits and minimize the downsides associated with glucose monitoring, here are some helpful hints from our expert team of diabetes care and education specialists and experienced people with diabetes: 

GO FOR THE GOALS

Monitoring without goals is like a ship without a rudder, floating aimlessly. Work with your diabetes care team to make your goals meaningful, measurable and realistic. They should be related to things you have direct control over – such as when/how often you will check, record and review your glucose levels.  

Logging behaviors and circumstances associated with glucose levels can be helpful in understanding why you may deviate from your usual patterns. It’s fine to use pen and paper for recording this information, but if you prefer a more modern approach, a variety of software programs and smart phone apps can be used. 

ORGANIZE YOUR INFO

Turning data into useful information requires a certain degree of organization. Most brand name blood glucose meters and CGM systems are downloadable to programs that can generate nice, neat reports.  

But don’t stop there. Glucose values by themselves may reveal when we are in and out of range, but they don’t reveal why. There is always a context, or story, behind each reading. Keeping track of the factors that affect your glucose levels can help you and your health- care team to uncover the true sources of out-of-range readings. 

These include: 

  • Food intake (carbs in particular).  
  • Doses of insulin and other diabetes medications.  
  • Physical activities (exercise and daily chores).  
  • Emotional stresses.  
  • Illnesses 

LEARN FROM YOUR DATA

Once you’ve collected a few weeks’ worth of information, it’s time to take a critical look.Your diabetes care team can help you to evaluate your data at appointments, so bring printed reports to your visits or bring ALL your meters for downloading. Look at your information on a regular basis as well. Review the glucose values at each phase of the day separately: pre-breakfast, post-breakfast, pre-lunch, etc. If you notice that values are out of your target glucose range, discuss potential solutions with your healthcare team. 

MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF

Why make glucose monitoring any harder than it has to be? For convenience sake, many people like to have an extra meter (or two) so that they don’t have to carry it to/ from work, kitchen/bedroom, up/down stairs, etc. To obtain an extra meter, ask your diabetes care team for a free sample, or call the number on the back of your meter to request a complimentary backup. 

TO MAKE GLUCOSE MONITORING AS PAINLESS AS POSSIBLE:  
  • Choose a meter that requires a very small blood sample (0.5 microliters or less, if possible).  
  • Use the thinnest lancets possible (33-gauge or higher) and change them regularly.  
  • Use a lancing device that has an adjustable tip and set it for the lowest setting that still produces a sufficient blood drop.  
  • Prick the sides of the fingers rather than the tips and milk the finger after pricking.  
  • Use the 3rd (middle), 4th (ring) and 5th (pinky) fingers on each hand and rotate your sites. 
TO ENSURE AN ACCURATE READING THE FIRST TIME EVERY TIME:  
  • Clean and dry your finger before checking – soap and water are best.  
  • Apply a drop to completely fill the test strip.  
  • Line up the test strip with your blood drop by holding the meter still on a table and sliding the blood sample slowly towards the strip.  
  • Make sure your meter is coded properly (if necessary).  
  • Store your strips at room temperature, in their vial and don’t use them past their expiration date. Exposing test strips to air or humidity makes them inaccurate. 

 


DISCLAIMERS:

This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always talk to your diabetes care and education specialist or healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please contact a qualified health care professional immediately. To find a diabetes care and education specialist near you, visit diabeteseducator.org/Find.

ADCES and danatech curate product specifics and periodically review them for accuracy and relevance. As a result, the information may or may not be the most recent. We recommend visiting the manufacturer's website for the latest details if you have any questions.