How To Use Diabetic Test Strips

Posted on May 21, 2019 at 12PM

How To Use Diabetic Test Strips And How They Actually Work

The diabetic test strip is one of three main components needed to test your blood sugar levels at home. The other two are the blood glucose monitor and the lancing device. When used together, you will receive a very accurate reading of your blood sugar level that is typically displayed in mg/dL, which stands for milligrams per deciliter.

A healthy person will have anywhere between 70 to 100 mg/dL of blood sugar when fasting. That number can go as high as 180 shortly after a meal. A person with diabetes can experience numbers anywhere between 130 and 300 on average when fasting depending on how well they maintain their condition. Of course, a well-maintained diabetic patient can enjoy a life with blood sugar levels between 70 and 100 mg/dL as well.

The point of the diabetic test strip is to let you know exactly where you stand on this scale. If your blood sugar is too high, then you may need to take an insulin shot if you are prescribed them. At the very least, you will know that something in your routine is not right. That may require changing your medication or your eating habits.

Most diabetic patients are advised to test their blood sugar around four times a day. However, your doctor may advise a different frequency and you should always take their advice. Many patients have forgotten how to use their diabetic test strips or may have never been properly taught in the first place.

How To Use Diabetic Test Strips At Home

Using your test strips is actually a very simple process. The first step is to wash and dry your hands with warm water. This reduces the likelihood of any interference and it helps increase blood flow in the area. Next, you will need to follow the instructions for your glucose meter to turn it on and prepare for a sample. Most glucose monitors will turn on automatically when a test strip is inserted. Ensure that the monitor is powered on and the strip is facing in the correct direction.

Now comes everyone's least favorite part. You will need to take a lancing device and prick a small hole on your finger. You're advised to find slightly different spots each time to reduce the pain. Many people prefer to use the side of their fingertip where it is slightly less sensitive. Once a drop of blood appears at the spot you are ready to use the device.

Take the glucose meter with the test strip inserted and hold it so that the exposed end of the strip is near the drop of blood. Upon contact, the strip should absorb the blood and the meter will begin to test the sample. Your blood glucose levels should be displayed within moments. It's also a good idea to record your reading in a logbook. 

Some specifics of this process may vary according to your brand of glucose meter and test strips. These devices tend to work the same only some come with additional features. For example, some glucose monitors include a digital logbook that automatically records information about your reading.

The Science Of A Test Strip

Now that you know to use diabetic test strips let's take a quick look at how these strips actually work. The science is relatively the same for most strips despite a large difference in price from one brand to the next. The average test strip is designed with several different layers and each layer serves a very specific purpose.

The top layer of the strip is responsible for absorbing the blood sample. It is designed like a sponge that runs a short distance from the tip of the strip. A more expensive test strip will have a higher quality material here. This makes it more likely to properly absorb the sample on the first attempt, thus reducing the need for multiple pricks.

The middle of the strip contains multiple layers that filter the blood sample and allow it to move to the appropriate areas near the bottom. Below these filters are layers that contain certain chemicals. One layer contains an enzyme that reacts with the blood sample. Another layer contains a chemical that accelerates the movement of electrons. A third layer contains stabilizing chemicals that help with both of the above processes.

The final layer contains the circuitry components of the strip. This is typically a thin circuit made from gold. It is responsible for transferring the electrons created in the chemical reaction to the glucose monitor. The use of gold allows the electrons to move as quickly as possible.

Making Use Of Your Strips

Don't let your test strips go to waste. Some people don't know how to use diabetic test strips and they sit in their medicine cabinet for years. We buy diabetic test strips so you don't have to let them go to waste.  Click here for more information on how to get rid of your unwanted testing strips. Or if you have a question simply send us an email here and we will get right back to you.  Those people have an increased risk for complications. Now you know how to use the strips and the science of how they work. Please, test your blood sugar as recommended by your doctor and do everything necessary to control the numbers.