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Health Tip: How to Check Your Blood Sugar

Diabetics need to monitor often

(HealthDay News) -- If you're diabetic, you already know that regularly checking your blood sugar is one of the most important ways to prevent dangerously high or low blood sugar levels.

Using the right equipment and using it properly is important to getting an accurate reading, so here are some tips, courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians, on how to get the right reading:

  • Every time you sit down to check your blood sugar, you should have your glucose meter, alcohol pads, test strips and finger lancets.
  • Have a regular schedule for checking your sugar, based on your doctor's recommendations. Initially, you should check your blood sugar at least twice a day -- before breakfast and dinner.
  • Make sure that your finger lancets are sterile and unused, and your test strips are current and have not expired. Expired test strips may cause inaccurate readings on your glucose meter.
  • Be sure to wash your hands well with antibacterial soap and warm water before you begin.
  • Clean the area to be tested -- typically your fingertip -- with the alcohol pad, and let it dry to avoid stinging. Prick the area with the lancet and squeeze a drop of blood onto the test strip. All glucose meters work differently, so follow the instructions on when the test strip should be inserted into the machine and how long you'll need to wait before getting your results.
  • Read and record the reading on the glucose meter. If your blood sugar is abnormally high or low, follow your doctor's instructions on how to handle each situation.
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