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For Healthcare Professionals

This section contains information specifically for healthcare professionals that have an interest in Diabetes. To access this area you must be registered on this site and be logged in.

Services for Professionals

Under 18?

This section is for under 18's and contains a great interactive tool to help you and your family learn more about diabetes.

Managing Diabetes

- The interactive web tool for children and families. It may be helpful to look at this section with your parents at first.

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Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG)

Mother and son check blood glucose with meter

By self-monitoring your blood glucose you can measure how your body handles different types of food, exercise, medication, stress and illness. Your blood glucose result may prompt you to eat a snack, take more insulin or go for a walk. Self-monitoring can also alert you to a blood glucose level that is too high or too low, which requires special treatment.

Controlling your blood glucose level is a very important part of managing diabetes. Regularly testing your blood glucose helps measure the effectiveness of your meal plan, physical activity and medications.

The results of self-monitoring can help guide you and your healthcare team to adjust the many parts of your therapy.

To self-test your blood glucose, you need a blood glucose meter, a test strip and a lancing device. Then, follow these basic steps:1

  • Wash and dry your hands. Using warm water may help increase the blood flow to your fingertips
  • Follow the instructions included with your lancing device to get a drop of blood— which normally include shaking your hands below the wrist or gently squeezing your finger a few times to help
  • Apply the blood drop to the test strip as directed
  • Wait a few seconds to view your results
  • Dispose of the lancet and test strip in the proper manner

While testing from the tip of a finger is most common, it is possible to use alternate site testing (AST). Other methods of testing and monitoring look at your blood glucose in the long-term. An HbA1c (also known as glycated haemoglobin or A1c) test gives you a picture of your average blood glucose control for the past 2 to 3 months.

1 Joslin Diabetes Center. Blood glucose monitoring: your tool for diabetes control. Available at: Accessed October 16, 2008.
2 American Diabetes Association. A1C test, Available Accessed November 11, 2008.

A long-term indicator of blood glucose control, also known as A1c, glycated haemoglobin or glycosylated haemoglobin test. A1c is a monitoring test to measure the amount of glucose bound to haemoglobin; this indicates the average blood glucose levels over a two to three month period (when blood glucose levels rise, glucose in the blood attaches to haemoglobin, the red blood cell pigment, and remains for the life of the red blood cell, about 120 days).Diabetes Professional Associations recommend an A1C result of 7% or less to help reduce the risk of long-term complications of diabetes.1

1American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes -- 2006. Diabetes Care. Volume 29, Supplement 1, January 2006.

Alternative Site Testing (AST)

taking blood from alternate site on palm

Some blood glucose meters allow you to use blood samples from other parts of the body, such as the palm, forearm, upper arm, thigh or calf. Testing from alternate sites is not always ideal. Blood from your fingertip shows changes in blood glucose quickly, but blood from alternate sites may not, and you may not get the most accurate result.1 Always consult with your healthcare professional before using sites other than your fingertip for blood glucose testing.

Alternate site testing, or AST, may be recommended when blood glucose is stable, such as immediately before a meal or before bedtime. AST is not recommended when blood glucose is changing quickly, such as immediately after a meal or after physical activity.

Never ignore symptoms of low or high blood glucose levels. If your blood glucose test result does not match the way you feel, perform a fingertip test to confirm the result.

1 American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes—2008 [position statement]. Diabetes Care. 2007;31:S12–S54. Available at: (accessed January 24, 2008).


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This website contains information on products which are targeted to a wide range of audiences and could contain product details or information otherwise not accessible or valid in your country. Please be aware that we do not take any responsibility for accessing such information which may not comply with any valid legal process, regulation, registration or usage in the country of your origin. For people with diabetes. Use only as directed. See your healthcare professional for medical advice.

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