Frequently Asked Questions on Glucose Monitors

How often should blood glucose levels be tested?
  • It is advisable to test your blood glucose levels either side of meals, once before eating and an hour after the meal to gauge how meals affect your blood sugar levels.
  • It is a good idea to test before and after sleep until you have a precise idea of whether your sugar levels are rising, falling or staying overnight.
What makes a blood glucose meter become inaccurate?

Blood glucose monitors might malfunction and become inaccurate due to aging or if they become dirty, too hot or damp. If the strips are outdated they can lead to inaccurate results. Diabetes monitors should be cleaned regularly, and taken care of like any other electronic device.

Is there an alternative to pricking fingers for blood sugar tests?

Finger stick tests can be painful as there are a high density of nerve endings towards the ends of the fingers. Some monitoring systems exist that allow for Alternate Site Testing. You can use an alternative part of your body to take blood from. This can be the lower arm but first check your meters instructions to see if the meter supports Alternate Site Testing and where it recommends you take blood from. Alternate Site Testing may lead to different results than with finger testing as there can be a lag between blood sugar levels in the fingers and other parts of the body.

How accurate are blood glucose meters?

Blood glucose monitors are allowed to have up to 20% error in accuracy. Different meters may also vary compared with each other as a result of environmental conditions, such as heat, low temperatures or humidity.

How should meter tests compare with lab results?

Blood glucose monitors and lab tests do not measure the same thing, these numbers are likely to vary. Lab tests generally test plasma, but a meter uses whole blood. As a result, even if both tests are taken at the exact same time, your meter is likely to show a lower number than the lab results