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Diabetes Information

Your Glucose Meter

Glucose meters test and record how much sugar (called glucose) is in your blood. They help you track your blood sugar level at different times during the day and night.

Meters can help you know how well your diabetes medicines are working. They can also help you learn how the food you eat and your physical activity can change your blood sugar level.

There are different kinds of meters. Meters come in different sizes. They also come with different features. Some meters let you track and print out your test results. Others have audio and larger screens to help people who have problems seeing. The meter you choose should fit your lifestyle and your needs. 

Most meters come with three parts:

  • Lancet - A needle that is used to get a drop of blood from your finger or another part of your body.
  • Test Strip - The strip where you put the blood you are testing.
  • Control Solutions - Liquid used to make sure your meter is working properly.
Use this booklet to help you talk to your health care provider or diabetes educator about the safe way to use your glucose meter.

Check the FDA website to learn more about Women and Diabetes:

Did you know?

  • The meter may give you the wrong results if you use the wrong test strip. Use the right test strip for your meter.
  • Glass cleaners, ammonia and other cleaning products may damage your meter. Follow the directions on how to clean your meter.
  • Your other medicines and dialysis solution may affect your blood sugar reading. Talk to your health care provider about how your medicines will affect your blood sugar.

How to Throw Away Used Devices

You should throw away your used needles in a hard container like an empty laundry detergent bottle or a metal coffee can.

  • Make sure the needles cannot poke through the container.
  • Put a label on the container to warn people that it is dangerous.
  • Keep the container where children cannot get to it.
  • Always put a lid or top on the container.

Check Your Blood Sugar

Checking your blood sugar helps you to know how well you are controlling your diabetes. People often test before meals, 1-2 hours after meals, and at bedtime. You may need to test more often. Talk to your health care provider to find out how often you need to test. Also, ask your doctor what your blood sugar number should be. This number is your target blood sugar level.

My Blood Sugar Targets
  • Before Meals                    _____________
  • 1-2 Hours After Meals    _____________
  • At Bedtime                       _____________

Helpful Tips

  • Read the directions for the meter and the test strips before you start using them.
  • Wash your hands before you check your blood sugar.
  • Food or juice on your fingers may affect your blood sugar result.
  • Write down your results and the date and time you tested.
  • Do this even if your meter tracks your numbers. Take the results with you when you go to your doctor.
  • Take your meter with you when you go to your doctor.
  • This way you can test your blood sugar in front of the doctor or nurse to make sure you are doing it the right way. Your health care provider may be able to print out your blood sugar results from your meter.

Learn More About Diabetes

Resources from the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

  • Information on Women and Diabetes

  • Glucose Meters

  • Report a Serious Problem with Your Meter


Other Resources

  • National Diabetes Education Program


  • National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse


  • American Diabetes Association


This booklet was developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women’s Health. To download free copies of this booklet and other diabetes materials visit:

Take Time To Care about Diabetes 

JUNE 2010

From the CDC
Also, see Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices at this website.

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This page was new at D-is-for-Diabetes on March 26, 2012

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