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Basic Skills

Checking Blood Glucose with a Meter

By in Basic Skills

When you have diabetes, blood glucose levels can fluctuate quickly due to many factors such as food, exercise, illness and stress. If you’re not using a CGM, checking with a meter helps give you a good picture of your overall blood glucose levels and guide you in making decisions that will keep your BGs as close to a healthy range as possible.

When Should You Check

  • First thing in the morning
  • Before meals
  • Before bed
  • When experiencing symptoms of high or low BG

There are also times that you may need to check 2 hours after you eat or in the middle of the night. The diabetes team will let you know if and when you need to check routinely at other times.

When should you check in the middle of the night

  • Any time you’ve had a major low during the day
  • Any time you have to give a larger than normal dose of insulin at bed time for a correction or food
  • Any time you’ve been particularly active during the day – much more than normal

Checking Blood Glucose

  1. Make sure hands are clean and completely dry. You don’t have to use alcohol, but if they are dirty, you should wash first with soap and water.
  2. Insert a test strip into the meter.
  3. Using the lancet, prick the side of the upper part of your finger.
  4. Apply the drop of blood to the test strip.
  5. Read the results and record it in your logbook.
  6. Bring your meter and logbook with you to clinic.

You can use a log sheet to track  glucose numbers, carbs and insulin. Remember to check for ketones if your BG is more than 300 mg/dl for injections and more than 240 mg/dl when pumping. Call your medical team right away if they are moderate or large.


Understanding Blood Glucose Numbers

Preparing Your Diabetes Kit

Disposing of Needles Safely

Glucose Monitoring Options

Blood Glucose Meters

CGM Benefits

Diabetes Log


Monitoring Your Blood Sugar – CDC




Reviewed by Angelina Bernier, MD , 3/6/19

This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.