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If you have diabetes, it's important to check your blood sugar regularly. By doing so, you can make adjustments to your diet and activity level to better control your sugars. If you're taking oral medications for diabetes or insulin, keeping a careful record of your blood sugars can help your doctor fine-tune your diabetes treatment program. In addition, good blood sugar control may help you avoid some of the common complications of diabetes so you can stay healthier.
You can use a blood glucose meter to check your blood sugar level at home. A small needle called a lancet is used to poke the skin (usually on a finger or on your arm) to get a small drop of blood. The drop of blood is placed on a testing strip that goes into the blood glucose meter. The results will be displayed on the meter after several seconds. If your doctor recommends you use this device, he or she will teach you how to use it. When choosing a lancing device and lancets you have a number of options. Lancing devices with silicone-coated lancets have the advantage of creating less friction. This makes checking your blood sugar level less painful. You can adjust the depth setting to meet your particular needs. Thicker areas of skin, especially calloused areas, need a higher depth setting than thin or sensitive areas of skin. For maximum comfort, use a shallow depth that still allows you to get blood.
With advanced lancing devices you control the depth of penetration as well as the force of the lancet. These devices give you maximal control and comfort and are ergonomically designed to be easy to use and handle. This makes checking your blood sugar level faster and more pleasant.
Lancing devices are also available that use pre-loaded lancet drums. With this system, you don't have to handle individual lancets and risk injury. Just load a drum with the pre-loaded lancet inside and you're ready to check your blood sugar. After loading the drum, you can set your preferred depth from among eleven customizable depth settings.
Compact lancing devices make it easy to check your blood sugar on the go. Their small size and compact design make them easy to carry around. Just drop them in your purse or travel bag. They work with most types of lancets and come with a complete instruction manual so you can begin using them right away. As with other lancing devices, you can adjust the depth of penetration using a dial.
A variety of lancets are available for use with lancing devices. Always read the instructions that come with your lancing device to make sure you're using the right one. Most lancing devices can use a variety of lances. Ultra-thin lances are now available that cause less pain than conventional lances. They work with most lancing devices.
Practice safety and common sense when checking your blood sugars. Don't reuse lancets. Doing so increases your risk for infection. Plus, a lancet becomes dull when it's used more than one time. A dull lancet makes it harder to pierce the skin. Always follow the instructions when using any lancing device. Dispose of your used lancets safely by placing them in a container made to hold used needles and sharps. Once the container is full you'll need to dispose of it. Check the rules in your area for disposing containers containing sharps. In some areas, you have to take the container to a special collection site.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.