Blood Testing Basics

Why Should I Test?

Testing your blood glucose gives you the information you need to manage your diabetes on a daily basis. Keeping blood glucoses as close to normal as possible can help to reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications and improve your transplant outcomes.

Blood glucose control can often be related to other components of your healthcare process. A change in your transplant medications, sudden illness, loss of weight, increase in stress levels, infection, transplant rejection and / or organ failure can all impact blood glucose control. This is why monitoring at home is so important.

What Supplies Do I Need to Perform a Blood Test?

You will need the following:

How to Test Your Blood Sugar

First, make sure you have everything on the supplies listed above.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and warm water
    • Prepare your meter
    • Follow the meter's directions for preparing it before taking blood sample
  2. Prick your finger with the lancet
    • Prick your finger and squeeze until you get a hanging drop of blood
    • Place the blood drop on the test strip
    • Follow your glucose meter's directions regarding the exact placement of a drop of blood on the test strip
  3. Wait for the meter to read the test strip
    • Read the meter results
  4. The number shown on the meter is the blood sugar result for that test
    • Record your results in your Blood Testing Diary
  5. Make sure to write down the date, time, and test results in your diary
    • Always bring your diary with you when you see your Diabetes-Care Team

When choosing a blood glucose meter, it is important to be able to choose one that you can use and works with your personal health care needs.

Before you get a blood glucose meter, check with your doctor and diabetes educator to make sure you are choosing one that is well suited to you.

Some things to consider when choosing a blood glucose meter are as follows:

  1. Your need for portability and size
  2. Does your health insurance cover the cost of the blood glucose meters test strips and supplies
  3. Your personal hematocrit range - does the blood glucose meter fit within these parameters. Check with your doctor and /or diabetes educator to find out.
  4. Test time - Length of time to perform test
  5. Ease of readability of blood glucose meter  - Does it have a back light to review results  for when lighting is poor, can you see the blood glucose meter
  6. Ease of use for you
  7. Alternative site testing - can you use other parts of your body to test your blood glucose?
  8. Range of meter - What is the lowest and highest blood glucose that the meter will give a reading?
  9. Amount of memory the meter will store for you before erasing results.
  10. Can you track other daily data such as exercise, diabetes medication, carbohydrate intake / nutritional information?
  11. Can you download test results on your home computer and /or can your health care provider download your test results at their office?
  12. Your diabetes team will tell you how often to test your blood. Ask your diabetes team when you should call them with your test results.

View the  American Diabetes Associations specifications for the 2005 blood glucose meters and data management systems. (PDF)

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