How To Test Your Blood Sugar

Women with PCOS are at increased risk for diabetes

Blood glucose test
Getty Images/IAN HOOTON

Insulin resistance is a common concern of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. Insulin resistance, often a precursor to diabetes, occurs when the body is unable to use insulin properly, leading to high blood sugar. 

If your doctor suggests that you begin monitoring your blood sugar levels, it is very important to do so regularly and consistently. Early monitoring and intervention are key to preventing the complications associated with diabetes.

Equally important is the maintenance of a nutritious, low sugar diet and regular exercise program. Of course, the following are only general guidelines, so please be sure to defer to the instructions of your physician.

If you have never done it before, testing your blood sugar may seem intimidating, but after a few times, you should be a pro at it.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Assemble your materials.
  3. Place the test strip in the meter as directed. This will turn the meter on.
  4. Make sure that your meter has been set using the controls as indicated by the instructions. Many glucometers requiring coding, which means checking to make sure the code on the test strip bottle matches the code in the meter.
  5. Swipe your fingertip with an alcohol pad. Allow to air dry.
  6. Using the lancing device that came with your meter, prick your fingertip to expose a drop of blood.
  7. Touch and hold the strip to the drop of blood to draw the blood into the strip and and wait for the meter to read the blood.
  1. Once you have your results, dispose of the test strip and turn off the meter. Apply a bandaid as necessary.
  2. Dispose of the lancet in a properly labeled sharps container. You can make your own sharps container using an old laundry detergent bottle or other thick plastic container. Be sure to label it properly.
  1. Record your result, along with date and time in your blood sugar log. Some meters may do this for you. Refer to the instructions to determine if yours does.
  2. Administer insulin, if necessary, according to your doctor's instructions.

Tips:

  1. Use the sides of your fingertips, rather than the center or tops, which are more sensitive and can hurt more.
  2. Make sure to alternate fingertips and locations to prevent soreness.
  3. If the drop of blood is not sufficient, lower your finger and squeeze the finger (using the opposite hand) toward where you pricked it, kind of like you are "milking" it. If you routinely have this problem, try warming up your hands by running under warm water prior to testing.
  4. You doctor may recommend measuring your blood sugar first thing in the morning, before or after meals and/or before bed. Follow your doctors instructions.
  5. Normal blood sugar levels vary depending on when you test. According to the American Diabetes Association, premeal readings are considered in range between 80 and 130 mg/dL. Postmeal readings should be under 180 mg/dL. Your doctor may have different target ranges for you, particularly if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
  1. If your blood sugar is low — below 60 mg/dL — eat a candy, or drink a glass of orange juice promptly.
  2. If your glucose level is high, you should drink water and get some gentle exercise, or administer insulin according to your doctors instructions. If your glucose levels are above 250 mg/dL, you should not exercise. High blood sugar can lead to a serious condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis that requires immediate medical attention.

What You Need:

  • Glucometer (please also refer to the directions enclosed with your meter)
  • Lancet
  • Alcohol pad
  • Bandaid (if necessary)
  • Sharps container

Source:

Blood Glucose Testing. American Diabetes Association website. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/. Updated June 17, 2015. Accessed January 25, 2016.

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