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Blood Glucose Monitoring for Adults

YouTube Video Link: (Video has been reviewed by NEHH and is provided for the sole purpose of education. It is not intended to replace advice given to you by your primary care provider.)

Monitoring your blood sugar (glucose) is an important part of managing your diabetes. It is important to check your blood sugar as often as directed by your primary care provider. By monitoring your blood sugars as directed and keeping a log you can:

  • How food, exercise, illness, and medicines affect your blood glucose level.
  • Help you and your health care provider adjust your diabetes management plan as needed, including your medicine and insulin needs.
  • Keep accurate records of your blood glucose level at any time.

With your help, your doctor can set forth a plan of care to manage your diabetes. In general, the goal of care is to maintain the following blood glucose levels:

  • Before meals: 80-130 mg/dl
  • After meals: below 180 mg/dl
  • A1c level: less than 7%

Let’s get to it!

Supplies Needed

  • Blood glucose meter.
  • Test strips for your meter. Each meter has its own strips. You must use strips that come with your meter.
  • A needle to prick your finger is known as a lancet. DO NOT use the same lancet more than once.
  • A device that holds the lancet. (Lancing device)
  • A journal or log to write down your results.

NOTE: You can get a starter kit that has all these items included. A journal or log may need to be purchased separately.

How to check your blood glucose

  1. Wash your hand with soap and water. You can also use an alcohol swab to cleanse the area.
  2. Ensure the area is completely dry before drawing blood.
  3. Prick the side of your finger with the lancet. It is important to prick the sides of your fingers and not the middle. Alternate fingers to prevent soreness, bruising, and calluses.
  4. Gently rub your finger until a small drop of blood appears.
  5. Place a small amount of blood on the test strip.
  6. Write down your results

Follow the instructions that come with your meter for inserting the test strip, applying the blood to the strip, and using your blood glucose meter

Blood glucose log

You should write down your results every time you check your blood glucose. We recommend you also write down notes about things that may be affecting your blood glucose, such as diet and exercise. This information can help you and your health care provider:

  • Look for patterns in your blood glucose over time.
  • Adjust your diabetes management plan as needed.

Quick tips

  • Always keep your supplies with you.
  • If you have questions or need help! All glucose meters have a 24 hr “hotline” you can call. Contact your primary care provider or simply message us using our messenger tab on this page. Someone will get back to you as soon as possible. If you’re having a medical emergency, please call 911!
  • Check test strip expiration date routinely.
  • Don’t forget to calibrate your glucose meter, instructions should be provided with your meter.

Contact your primary care provider if:

  • Your blood glucose is at or above 240mg/dL for 2 days in a row.
  • You have been sick or have had a fever for 2 days or longer, and you are not getting better.
  • You cannot eat or drink.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • You have persistent diarrhea.

Get help right away if:

  • Your blood glucose is lower than 54mg/dL.
  • You become confused or you have trouble thinking clearly.
  • You have difficulty breathing.
  • You have moderate or large ketone levels in your urine.

As always! We are here to help. At NEHH we strive to provide education and make information readily available. This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your primary care provider.

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Copyright 1995–2021. American Diabetes Association®. All rights reserved. (n.d.). The big picture: Checking your blood sugar. The Big Picture: Checking Your Blood Sugar | ADA. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from 

RegisteredNurseRN. (2015, August 12). Checking blood sugar (glucose) level | how to use a glucometer. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from 

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