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How to Read a Glucose Meter

By Chris Sherwood ; Updated July 27, 2017

A glucose meter is a quick way for a person suffering from diabetes to monitor her blood sugar levels. This allows the individual to protect herself from the health dangers associated with blood sugar levels either rising too high or dropping to dangerously low levels.

Wash your hands. Before taking a glucose test you should always thoroughly wash your hands. Even the smallest amount of food or other substance on your hand can give you a false reading.

Take the test. To do this, take a small sample of blood using the provided lancet. Drop the sample on the testing strip, and then place the testing strip into the reader.

Read the results when taking before a meal. The test results should be displayed in large numbers on the front of your meter. According to the American Diabetes Association, when taking the test before a meal, the blood glucose number should be between 70 to 130 mg/dl (5 to 7 mmol/l). If you get a reading that is higher or lower than this range, you will need to take appropriate action with either insulin or eating a meal.

Read the results when taking after a meal. Since food affects your blood sugar levels, taking a test after a meal will result in a higher number being displayed on the meter. According to the American Diabetes Association, when using a glucose meter after a meal, your blood glucose levels should be less than 180 mg/dl (10 mmol/l).

Dispose of the testing strip. Once you have read the glucose reading, record the number in your testing journal, and throw away the testing strip.


When placing your blood sample onto the testing strip, do not squeeze your finger. Let the blood naturally flow out. Squeezing in some cases may affect the glucose meter final results.

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