To use a diabetic testing strip to monitor your blood sugar, prick your finger with a lancet and place a drop of blood on the strip, instructs WebMD. Place the strip into the glucose meter, which delivers a blood sugar reading you can record.
New glucometers allow you to extract blood from other locations, such as an arm, thigh or base of the thumb, according to WebMD. While using blood from these locations is acceptable, blood sugar readings change most quickly at the tips of the fingers. Therefore, if accuracy is the primary goal, such as when you may have hypoglycemia, the fingertip is still best.
Before meals, you should strive for a blood sugar reading of 70 to 130 milligrams per deciliter, notes WebMD. After meals, a reading under 180 milligrams per deciliter is acceptable in most cases. However, your doctor may give you customized blood sugar goals depending on your overall health.
Diet changes and regular exercise can lower your blood sugar levels, according to the American Diabetes Association. However, if you have a blood sugar reading of 240 milligrams per deciliter or higher and there are ketones in your urine, exercise can make your blood sugar even higher. Discuss regular high blood sugar readings with your doctor, who can recommend changes to your insulin, diabetes management schedule or medication to safely manage your diabetes.