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How Do I Test My Blood Sugar Levels?

Urine test strips are needed for checking blood sugar levels through urine.
A person's blood sugar reading can be assessed by drawing a blood sample.
People with diabetes can monitor their blood sugar levels with simple home tests.
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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2014
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Testing your blood sugar levels can be done in a few different ways. Anyone can have the testing done quickly at a doctor's office, but people with diabetes or other illnesses that can affect blood sugar may need to know what it is on a daily basis. Checking your blood sugar levels at home can typically be done with either a urine test or a blood test. Of the two types of tests, a blood test is generally considered to be the most accurate. The instructions for both urine and blood tests may vary depending on the manufacturer of the test, but most work in a similar manner.

To check your blood sugar levels using a urine test, you will need some specialized urine test strips. These may be given to you by your doctor or purchased at various pharmacies. The process of checking the blood sugar with a urine test involves urinating into a cup and dipping the urine test strip into the urine sample. The strip changes colors to show where your blood sugar is at. These tests normally come with a color-coded reference chart so that you can compare your test results to the chart to find out what your levels are.

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Checking your blood sugar with a blood test tends to be a little more involved than using a urine test. You can do this at home using a special device called a glucometer that will give a digital readout of your blood sugar levels. First, you'll have to prick the tip of your finger with a lancet, which normally comes with the glucometer. After you draw some blood, you'll need to press the meter strip of the glucometer onto the blood. When it has an accurate reading of your blood glucose levels, it will be displayed onscreen.

Normal blood sugar readings are typically between 70 to 100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) for people without diabetes. People with diabetes may have blood sugar levels of 90 to 130 mg/dL. The levels will almost always be higher than normal just after you eat a meal, but they should fall back into the normal range after a few hours have passed. If you use a urine test kit, you may want to keep in mind that the results shown do not reflect your current blood glucose levels, but instead reflect the levels as they were a few hours before you tested. Only a blood test can tell you what your levels are at the exact moment you take the test.

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discographer
Post 3

@turquoise-- Actually, results of lab glucose tests with blood drawn from the vein are the most accurate.

I asked my endocrinologist about this one time, if the results of glucometer readings and the ones from the hospital labs are the same. And she said that the labs give more accurate results because the blood is drawn directly from the vein. There could be up to 20mg/dl difference between a glucometer reading and a lab reading.

Because of this, she told me to make sure that I go in for a a1c test every three months. This gives the average blood glucose levels for the past three months. So if there is an inaccuracy in the glucometer, you will probably find out when the results come back too high or low. I also make sure that my test strips are not expired because that can give inaccurate results too.

turquoise
Post 2

@fify-- I used them for only a few days before I got my glucometer and didn't like it at all. I got some odd readings for my morning blood sugar levels, too low or to high. When I got my glucometer, I used both simultaneously to compare and I definitely prefer the glucometer. The urine test gives a more broad reading, a range, so you don't know exactly how much glucose is in the blood.

I think the urine test came out first. Glucometers haven't been around for that long. Who knows, maybe scientists will come up with a new device in the future that gives even more accurate readings. But glucometers are the best for now.

fify
Post 1

Has anyone used a urine test at home? I have never used one and thought that blood tests are the norm.

I use a glucometer for measuring my blood sugar levels. My doctor prescribed it for me when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was a little scared of pricking my finger at first but it doesn't hurt at all. I prick it and quickly squeeze my finger to get a drop of blood. Sometimes it doesn't work too well, especially if my hands are cold. I sometimes have to prick twice to get enough blood. Then I hold the blood to the test strip which takes it to the meter and gives me a reading.

I don't test my blood sugar constantly, just when I feel that it might be high like when I'm excessively thirsty. I think blood tests give accurate readings, I'm just curious about urine tests. Does anyone know which test came out first?

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