Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG)
Controlling your blood glucose level is a very important part of managing diabetes. Regularly testing your blood glucose helps measure the effectiveness of your meal plan, physical activity and medications.
Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is an important & integral component of modern therapy for diabetes mellitus. SMBG has been recommended for people with diabetes in order to achieve a target level of glycemic control and thus achieve their HbA1c target. The goal of SMBG is to achieve target HbA1c by regularly monitoring blood glucose levels at different time intervals so as to check short term glycemic changes and enable maintenance of a more constant glucose level.
By self-monitoring your blood glucose one can measure how the body handles different types of food, exercise, medication, stress and illness. Your blood glucose result may prompt you to eat a snack, take more insulin or go for a walk. Self-monitoring can also alert you to a blood glucose level that is too high or too low, which requires special treatment.
The results of self-monitoring can help guide you and your healthcare team to adjust the many parts of your therapy.
To self-test your blood glucose, you need a blood glucose meter, a test strip and a lancing device. Then, follow these basic steps:
- Wash and dry your hands. Using warm water may help increase the blood flow to your fingertips.
- Follow the instructions included with your lancing device to get a drop of blood which normally include shaking your hands below the wrist or gently squeezing your finger a few times to help.
- Apply the blood drop to the test strip as directed
- Wait a few seconds to view your results
- Dispose of the lancet and test strip in the proper manner
While testing from the tip of a finger is most common, it is possible to use alternate site testing ( AST ). Other methods of testing and monitoring look at your blood glucose in the long-term. An HbA1c (also known as glycated haemoglobin or A1c) test gives you a picture of your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months.
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Alternative Site Testing (AST)
Some blood glucose meters allow you to use blood samples from other parts of the body, such as the palm, forearm, upper arm, thigh or calf. Testing from alternate sites is not always ideal. Blood from your fingertip shows changes in blood glucose quickly, but blood from alternate sites may not, and you may not get the most accurate result.1 Always consult with your healthcare professional before using sites other than your fingertip for blood glucose testing
Alternate site testing, or AST, may be recommended when blood glucose is stable, such as immediately before a meal or before bedtime. AST is not recommended when blood glucose is changing quickly, such as immediately after a meal or after physical activity.
Never ignore symptoms of low or high blood glucose levels. If your blood glucose test result does not match the way you feel, perform a fingertip test to confirm the result.