7 Blood Sugar Testing Mistakes to Avoid

Diabetes is one of the most formidable ailments worldwide. To manage your diabetes, you must keep your blood sugar within safe limits. Your diet and lifestyle play a role in avoiding any blood sugar spike. Measure your blood sugar during the day before and two hours after a meal.

One of the most common blood sugar tests is to measure the sugar level by pricking the finger and testing the blood for glucose. There are many ways you can check your blood sugar.

1. Fingertip Testing of Blood Sugar

Fingertip testing is prevalent for diabetes and other health issues. Many nerves are ending at our fingertips. The pad on the fingertip is a sensitive spot. Testing the blood by pricking your fingertip may hurt.

A better way to test the blood is to put your hands together by keeping the palms flat and pressing the fingertips together.

Test the sugar in the blood from the visible edges of the hand. It is less painful as you will not touch things with the edge areas. You can use other areas (thighs, forearms) to test blood sugar levels.

2. Not Shaking your Fingers Before Testing

Avoid drawing blood from stale hand fingertips. Before pricking the finger, put your hands and fingers downward and keep shaking your hands and finger for several seconds. It induces blood to flow to the fingertips. Place the lancet tip on the side of the fingertip to avoid using the spot you used for finger pricking last time.

3. Using the Same Finger Every Time for the Test

People unknowingly use the same fingertip spot because they are used to it. Try using different fingertips for every new blood test.

Use different fingertips each time you go for a blood test, which allows pricked fingers the time to heal and recover. It also helps you avoid the painful experience of pricking the same finger spot for repeat jabs.

You can try alternate site testing like the palm of your hand if your blood test sugar reading remains consistent. You do not have to use only the fingertips for the blood. Using the same spot on your finger can sore the finger.

4. Not Cleaning the Finger Correctly

Many use alcohol to clean their fingertips, which is inadvisable. The fast-drying action of alcohol hurts your fingertips. Many people lick their fingers before the blood tests and do not clean their fingertips.

The blood test will evaluate the food you put in your mouth, traces of which you may have on your fingertip. If you have consumed a sweet and licked your fingertip and used that tip for the test, the test will evaluate the sweet that touches your fingertip, and the result may not be accurate.

Blood from an uncleaned finger will have more than a 10% difference in blood sugar level in the first and the second drop tests. The result may be even higher if the person has touched a fruit before the test.

Ensure you have washed your hands thoroughly before the test with a chemical-free soap and warm water, and pat it dry before the test. Avoid touching anything before the blood test is over.

5. Not Using a Fresh Lancet for Testing

Multiple usages of the same needle may get blunt by penetrating your skin and may be painful. You may feel an electric shock on the fingertip. A sharp needle in the lancet will give you a smoother prick and a less painful experience.

6. Waste of Lancet and Tests Strips

Authorized medical body of your country should accredit your testing equipment for the accuracy of the glucose meter, dependability of the lancets, and manufacturer-verified test strips.

Skimping will affect your blood sugar reading and the eventuality of your health condition. The most common fault in the lancet is it starts very sharp but soon becomes dull and blunt, which hurts in the next prick reusing them.

Check the expiry date of the strips. Preserve the test strips according to the instructions mentioned in the box to give you accurate numbers.

Always use a fresh lancet. Ensure you keep the test strips in a closed airtight box. You can get the medicated boxes in medical supply stores and ensure to check the strips' date of expiry before using them.

7. Not Understanding the Glucose Meter

We can easily find accurate and sophisticated glucose meters in the market. They are easy to use, but periodically checking the accuracy of the readings is imperative. Follow the manufacturer rulebook, user manual, and guidelines to the tee and correctly. Understand the fine points of using the meter and all the error messages. Seek help from a health specialist for the first few tests if you do not know how to read the meter.


Avoid mindless testing or testing too frequently and testing soon after a meal. Know when to test. Incorrect testing will generate misleading results and misguide you. Wait for two hours after a meal to get an accurate sugar level. Make a calendar or a schedule for your tests.

Understand test results. You will waste the strips and time if you can decode the meter readings. Test once in the morning after an 8-10 hours gap from the meal at night and two hours after breakfast. Then test once in the night before bed, after two hours of the night meal.

It will help you understand the level of insulin resistance. The results, if understood well, can help you change your lifestyle to manage your diabetes and the sugar levels under control.

Updated on: 28-Apr-2023


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