All about testing

As with all things new, there are more questions than answers when one is diagnosed with diabetes. The first question that comes to the mind, is “Why me”. Believe me, there is no easy answer to any diabetes related question, the emotional ones being the most difficult to answer. Once the proverbial dust has settled down, the new patient is confronted with a lot of conflicting advice, much of it, from within the medical community itself. Testing blood sugar is one such subject, where the experts have no clear answers and tend to confuse the new patient more. So, here are some bullet points on tests, & testing.  
• BG numbers are not static. They can change on a moment to moment basis 
• Testing ought to have purpose. Every test should tell you something 
• Your meter is your best friend. It will answer most of your questions  
• In the beginning there’ll be lots of questions, so test a lot  
• Alcohol swabs are not essential, soap & water work just fine  
• Clean & dry your hands. Snap fingers or jerk hands to get blood flow moving nicely
• Lancing devices have varying needle depths. Use the most suitable depth for you  
• Needles need not be changed very frequently. Even 6 months is fine with the same needle
• Do not share needles with anyone, ever.  
• Sides are less painful to prick than the mounds of the fingers  
• Blood drops should be of adequate size. Do not starve the strip for blood  
• Blood is not homogenous. Different fingers or different areas will give different results
• Blood glucose is measured in mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter) or mmol/L (millimoles per liter)
• For conversion use mg/l = mmol/L x 18.05  
• Labs use blood plasma for testing, home meters use whole blood  
• Strips are coated with reagents and are susceptible to corruption. Don’t use expired strips  
• The law permits meters to be inaccurate to +/- 20 % of actual values  
• Percentage inaccuracy is directly proportional to BG. Higher BG = higher meter inaccuracy
• Tests before food are known as Fasting if nothing has been eaten between meals  
• Tests after food are known as Post Prandials, usually tested at 1 hr & 2 hr after meals  
• Tests can be done for a number of variables like food, hunger, quantity, exercise  
• Till you can predict your BG within a narrow range, Test, Test, Test.