Before driving. It is important to check your blood glucose before driving or operating machinery to avoid any situations that could become dangerous if hypoglycemia should occur.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that the frequency and timing of blood glucose self-monitoring be dictated by your particular needs, with the following considerations:
• Daily monitoring is especially important for people who take insulin or a sulfonylurea (glimepiride, glipizide, or glyburide) to mon- itor for and prevent asymptomatic hypoglycemia.
• Monitoring three or more times daily is recommended for people with Type 1 diabetes.
• For people with Type 2 diabetes, monitoring sufficient to help them reach blood glucose goals and minimize the risks of both high and low blood glucose episodes is recommended.
• In Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, monitoring more often is recommended when adding to or modifying therapy.
Other situations in which monitoring closely is recommended include when you are ill, as well as if you are taking a drug or undergoing a treatment for a nondiabetes-related condition that can potentially affect your blood glucose levels.
Using proper technique
To get the most accurate results from your meter, you need to be sure you are using proper technique. Here are some basic steps to follow when checking your blood glucose level:
• Insert the test strip into the meter according to manufacturer’s instructions.
• Wash your hands or other area to be lanced with soap and warm water, and dry well.
• Insert a new lancet into the lancing device.
• Press the lancing device firmly against the skin of the area being lanced.
If fingers are being used, stick the side of your finger rather than the center pad, which is more painful and may not produce enough blood.
• Depending on the type of strip you use, place a drop of blood on the correct spot on the test strip, making sure that you completely cover the required area, or hold the strip to the blood drop until enough is drawn in.
Technique will vary somewhat depending on which meter is used—for instance, some meters are preloaded with multiple test strips or feature a built-in lancing device. It is a good idea to bring your blood glucose meter to regular visits with your diabetes care team to review your technique.
Keep in mind that your test strips, in addition to having an expiration date, have a limited period of time—usually several weeks—during which they may be used once their packaging has been opened. Therefore, it is important that you become familiar with the recommendations on the test strip package to establish a time frame for using them. If several strips are packaged together in a vial (or bottle), then all of these strips must either be used or discarded within this time frame.
Because they are sensitive to moisture, light, and extremes of temperature, strips should be stored in their original packaging at all times unless you are in the process of using one. In other words, don’t take strips out of their original container and carry them around, and don’t expose them to temperatures above 86°F or refrigerate them. You may find that using strips that are individually packaged suits you better if you monitor only periodically (as may be the case for a person controlling Type 2 diabetes with meal planning and exercise, or a person with prediabetes). For individually packaged strips, the packaging seal is broken only when the strip is about to be used.
Meters designed to hold multiple test strips eliminate the need for the user to handle individual strips. Some meters use a 10-strip “wheel” cartridge, and one has a 17-strip “drum” cartridge. The cartridge is inserted into the meter according to the manufacturer’s directions and replaced when all the test strips have been used. When it is time to monitor, an individual strip slides out to accept the blood sample; when the test is done, the strip is ejected from the meter. Also available is a disposable meter that comes preloaded with 100 test strips. After the 100th test, the entire meter is simply discarded and replaced.