Diabetes Self-Management Articles

These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.

Links not loading properly?

Some of our pages use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader for free, visit www.adobe.com.

Sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter and receive a FREE GIFT! Enter your e-mail below.

Learn more

Learn more about diabetes

Links to help you learn more about diabetes.

Ask a diabetes expert
Other diabetes resources
Browse article topics


Getting Accurate Readings

Return to Article


Given the expense of test strips, the discomfort of pricking your fingers or other body parts, and the inconvenience of setting aside time to monitor, you want accurate, useful results when you check your blood glucose level. For the most accurate results, follow these steps:

  • If your meter requires calibrating, or entering a code number with each new batch of strips, make sure it is calibrated properly before monitoring. That means checking the code in the meter against the number printed on the box or vial of test strips. If the code is wrong, your reading could be off by up to 40%.
  • Store your strips properly. Keep them in the container they came in and at room temperature.
  • Before monitoring, wash your hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly.
  • Make sure you’re using enough blood. These days, many meters won’t start analyzing until enough blood has been placed on the test strip. If the first drop isn’t enough, you generally have a small window of time to add more blood. But if you fail to get enough blood on the strip within a certain amount of time, you may get an error message.

To make sure you get enough blood from a fingertip, hang the hand to be lanced by your side for a few minutes. Then, starting at the base of the finger, milk it downward before lancing. Don’t squeeze the area around the fingerprick after lancing because the blood may mix with interstitial fluid, altering the results.

When using alternative test sites such as a palm or forearm, rub the area to be lanced first. After lancing, continue to hold the lancing device against the site, and alternately apply and release pressure a few times to ensure that you get enough blood.



Return to Blood Glucose Monitoring: When to Check and Why

More articles on Blood Glucose Monitoring



Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



Does Self-Monitoring Have to Hurt?
Two weeks ago I asked how often you self-monitor your blood glucose. Many readers answered,... Blog

Getting Your (Diabetes) Ducks in Order
I have a ritual that I do twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall: I go through... Blog

Blood Glucose Monitoring
Sam was gaining weight and he knew why. Ever since his doctor started him on a diabetes medicine... Article

I've just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Will it go away? Get tip

Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

Complete table of contents
Subscription questions