2009-11-06 / Columnists

SJEH Wellness Corner

National Diabetes Month: Using Your Glucometer
Commentary By Karen Muir, Clinical Pharmacist SJEH

November is National Diabetes Month and a good time to review the use of your glucometer. The ABCs of glucometers are great for new users and even if you have been using a glucometer for some time, you might pick up some tips you hadn't known before.

What is a Glucometer?

It is a device that allows you to monitor your blood sugar at home with immediate results.

It alerts you if your blood sugar levels are too low, too high, or are in a good range pertaining to your condition.

This device also aids in allowing your healthcare provider to paint an accurate picture of the effect of your treatment.

It is a small, portable device that is very convenient and allows for testing everywhere.

How to use a Glucometer

First, set out your glucometer, a test strip, a lancet (scalpel), or sharp tool and an alcohol prep pad.

Wash your hands to prevent infection.

Decide the area where you will obtain the blood from, usually a finger.

To increase circulation or blood flow, warm up your hands by rubbing them briskly or run them un - der warm water.

Turn on the glucometer and place a test strip in the machine when it is ready.

Watch the indicator for placing the blood to the strip.

Make sure your hand is dry and wipe the selected area with an alcohol prep pad and wait until the alcohol dries.

Pierce the soft, fleshy part of your finger tip and obtain a drop of blood.

Place the drop of blood on or at the side of the strip.

The glucometer will take a few moments to calculate the blood sugar reading. Use the prep pad to stop bleeding.

Write down your result. Keeping a record makes it easier for you and your doctor to establish a good treatment plan.

There is a Diabetes Education Sup port Group at St. John's Epis - copal Hospital that meets monthly between March and Oct ober.

Edu cational presentations on topics re lated to diabetes are made at each meeting by health care specialists. For more information about the next meeting or to receive a flyer about the next meeting, please contact 718-869-7116.

St. John's Episcopal Hospital will dispose of used lancets or sharps. Please bring them to the Hospitality Desk in the main Lobby in a closed, puncture-proof container during the hours of 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Mon - days through Fridays, and ask the staff at the Hospitality Desk to page the Environmental Services Depart - ment for pickup.

To make an appointment with the Endocrinology Practice at St. John's Episcopal Hospital please call 718- 869-7690.

Glucometer Tips:

Make sure you keep batteries in stock that fit your glucometer.
• Lancets come in different
gauges. The higher the number,
the finer the lancet will be.
• Dispose of your lancets in a
puncture-proof container.
• Keep your glucometer and test
strips in a clean, dry place.
• Discuss with your doctor how of -
ten and at what times of the day
you should be testing.

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