For people with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar at home is an easy and important tool to prevent complications of their disease. Home blood glucose monitoring is a test you do at home using a small drop of blood from your finger, a test strip and a meter to check how much sugar is in your blood at that moment. It’s a snap shot in time that tells you what’s going on in your body right now. Your doctor can order lab tests that show the same information, called a random blood glucose test, or a test that provides more of an average picture of your blood glucose control over the last 3 months called an HbA1C test.
If you are diabetic, you may be wondering which meter is the best one to use. While all meter manufacturers will tell you that theirs is better, I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. These days all meters, if working properly, will give you very similar results. However, there may be differences in some of the features, like memory functions, the size of display, if it lights up at night, if it has sound cues, can the test strips be pre-loaded, etc. Talk to your pharmacist, physician or diabetic professional about what meter that most suits your needs, and be sure to understand how to use it properly.
How often you should test depends on a number of factors.
If you are not on any medications, but manage only through diet and exercise, testing once a week is probably enough.
Some medications are more likely to cause low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. So the medication you take may dictate how often you should test. For some people on oral diabetic medication, testing once per week is may be sufficient, for others once per day is advisable.
People using insulin should test before each dose of insulin, and more often if your results indicate any cause for concern.
Regardless of how you manage your diabetes, you should always test more frequently when sick or when any new medications are started.