Wondering How to Check Diabetes at Home? Find Out How!

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

how to check diabetes at home
Living with diabetes, hypertension or any other chronic disease requires you to do multiple things – track vitals, take medicines & stay on top of your health at all times. If this overwhelms you, switch to Phable – India’s No. 1 BP & Sugar Management App to manage your condition better. Take charge of your health and stay connected with doctors, order medicines and do a whole lot more from the comfort of your home.

Healthcare and medical technology have made leaps and bounds of progress in the last few years. So many treatment modalities and management processes are now possible in the comfort of your own house. Have you wondered how to check diabetes at home? You cannot check for diabetes, but you can check blood sugar levels at home. Let’s find out all about at-home blood sugar tests.

Contents:
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Ways to Test Blood Sugar at Home
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    The Importance of Blood Sugar Testing
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    When Should I Test my Blood Glucose Level?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is the Blood Glucose Test Procedure at Home?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Tips for Accurate Testing
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Interpreting the Results
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    When to Consult a Doctor?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
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Ways to Test Blood Sugar at Home

There are 3 main ways through which you can test your blood glucose (sugar) levels at home. 

1. Blood Glucose Meter

This is the most widely available and affordable option. Blood glucose meters are also called glucometers. This device uses a test strip on which a sample of blood taken from your finger is placed, and the strip is inserted into the meter to check your blood sugar.

2. Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) Device

Continuous glucose monitoring involves the insertion of a tiny sensor underneath your skin and provides real-time blood glucose readings every few minutes. This sensor measures your glucose level and sends the information to a monitor or an app on your phone. An alarm sounds if your blood sugar becomes too high or too low.

3. Sensor-Based Glucose Monitoring System

In this system, there is no finger prick required, and a tiny sensor is inserted underneath your skin. It does not provide continuous readings. Rather, when you want to check your blood sugar level, you can use a reader to scan the sensor.

The Importance of Blood Sugar Testing

Blood glucose testing is crucial to monitor your glucose levels and assess if your diabetes is under control. Blood glucose levels tend to fluctuate after meals, exercise, physical activity, or stress.

Both hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels) and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels) are associated with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. High or low blood sugar can cause severe complications. Hyperglycemia can lead to complications such as glaucoma, nerve damage, kidney damage, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Regular blood sugar monitoring helps you understand the impact of factors such as meals, exercise, physical activity, illness, and stress on blood sugar levels. It prevents episodes of hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia. It also helps you assess the efficacy of insulin therapy or other treatment modalities for diabetes.

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When Should I Test My Blood Glucose Level?

You should check your blood glucose levels depending on the type of diabetes you have, the treatment you follow, and the instructions given by your doctor. The typical timings followed for at-home blood sugar tests are:

  • Before meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • After meals
  • Before snacks
  • Before exercise
  • After exercise
  • At bedtime
  • During the night, in rare cases

Discuss with your doctor and personalise your glucose monitoring schedule as per your health condition.

What is the Blood Glucose Test Procedure at Home?

Blood sugar testing using a blood glucose meter requires a small sample of blood to be placed on a disposable test strip. Even if you use CGM, you will need a blood glucose meter to calibrate your CGM device daily.

Consult your doctor about which device is best for you and how to use it. Read and follow the instructions that come with your device.

Testing your blood glucose levels at home usually involves the following steps:

  • Wash and dry your hands well.
  • Insert a test strip into your meter.
  • Prick the side of your fingertip with the lancet (small needle) provided with your device.
  • Gently squeeze your finger until a drop of blood forms on the tip.
  • Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood.
  • In a few seconds, the meter will display your blood glucose level on the screen.

Tips for Accurate Testing

You can follow these tips to ensure accurate testing of your blood glucose levels at home:

  • Calibrate your device at regular intervals and run periodic quality checks. Check the batteries regularly. 
  • Use good quality test strips compatible with the device and store them appropriately. Pay attention to the expiration dates for test strips.
  • Test your blood glucose levels more frequently whenever you make any changes to your routine, such as lifestyle modifications or diet planning.
  • Keep a written record of your blood sugar levels with the date and time. Also, keep track of your physical activity and exercise regimes. 
  • Consult your doctor regularly about the frequency of testing your blood sugar levels.

Interpreting the Results

For individuals without diabetes, blood sugar levels should be within the following ranges:

  • Fasting: under 100 mg/dL
  • Before meals: Less than 110 mg/dL
  • Two hours after meals: Below 140 mg/dL
  • At bedtime: Under 120 mg/dL

For people with diabetes, blood sugar readings should be within the following ranges: 

  • Fasting: 80 to 130 mg/dL
  • Before meals: 70 to 130 mg/dL
  • Two hours after meals: Below 180 mg/dL
  • At bedtime: Under 120 mg/dL

As per the American Diabetes Association (ADA), ranges often vary depending on the age and personal health of the individual.

When to Consult a Doctor?

  • Consult a doctor to discuss your results and the target range. You should also consult your doctor whenever you see sharp fluctuation (high or low) in your blood sugar levels.
  • Those with prediabetes are at risk of developing diabetes. They should continue monitoring their blood glucose levels regularly and consult a doctor.
  • Note the warning signs of abnormally high or low blood sugar levels, and consult a doctor at the earliest if you observe them.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • There are 3 main ways through which you can test your blood glucose (sugar) levels at home: a blood glucose meter, a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device, and a sensor-based glucose monitoring system. 
  • Regular blood glucose monitoring helps you understand the impact of factors such as meals, exercise, physical activity, illness, and stress on your glucose levels. It also prevents episodes of hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia and helps you assess the efficacy of insulin therapy or other treatment for diabetes.
  • The typical timings followed for at-home blood sugar tests are before and after meals, before snacks, before and after exercise, at bedtime, and in rare cases, during the night.
  • Testing your blood glucose levels at home usually involves washing and drying your hands, inserting a test strip into your meter, pricking the side of your fingertip with the lancet, squeezing your finger for a drop of blood, touching the test strip to the drop of blood, and noting the reading on the device. 
  • For people with diabetes, blood sugar readings should be between 80 to 130 mg/dL on fasting, 70 to 130 mg/dL before meals, below 180 mg/dL two hours after meals, and under 120 mg/dL at bedtime. 
  • Consult a doctor to discuss your results and the target range and if you observe any warning signs of abnormally high or low blood sugar levels.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management Program which provides ‎360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, you cannot check if you have diabetes at home. You can check your blood glucose levels at home, get your diagnosis confirmed with a doctor, and manage your diabetes. You can use devices such as glucometers, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, or a sensor-based glucose monitoring system to measure your blood sugar levels.

Below is the table for normal blood sugar for diabetics by age:

 

For people with Type 1 Diabetes:

 

Before meals, your blood sugar levels should be:

  • From 90 to 130 mg/dL for adults
  • From 90 to 130 mg/dL for 13 to 19 years old
  • From 90 to 180 mg/dL for 6 to 12 years old
  • From 100 to 180 mg/dL for children under 6 years old

 

After meals (1 to 2 hours after eating), your blood sugar levels should be:

  • Less than 180 mg/dL for adults

 

At bedtime, your blood sugar levels should be:

  • From 90 to 150 mg/dL for adults
  • From 90 to 150 mg/dL for 13 to 19 years old
  • From 100 to 180 mg/dL for 6 to 12 years old
  • From 110 to 200 mg/dL for children under 6 years old

 

For people with Type 2 Diabetes, the ADA recommends that blood sugar targets should be individualised.

 

Generally, before meals, your blood sugar levels should be:

  • From 70 to 130 mg/dL for adults

After meals (1 to 2 hours after eating), your blood sugar levels should be:

  • Less than 180 mg/dL for adults

 

If you do not have a blood glucose meter, you can use a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device or a sensor-based glucose monitoring device to check your blood glucose levels. Both these devices involve placing a tiny sensor under your skin with glucose readings showing up on a mobile app for a CGM device or a scanner cum reader for the sensor-based device.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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