Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose

Susan Renda, DNP, ANP-BC, Susan M. Porter, CRNP, CDE


  • With self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), the patient measures their own blood glucose level using a drop of blood applied to a reagent stick.
  • A meter displays or gives an auditory voice result of the blood glucose level at the time it is tested.
  • Wide variety of different meters and strips, each with strengths and weaknesses.
  • Usually, a small drop of blood is taken from a finger prick, although many meters can use blood from alternate sites such as forearm or other areas on the hand.
  • Results are usually stored in meter by date, time and result, and can be downloaded with simple software packages; some meters display their results on an external insulin pump ("smart pumps").
  • Some meters also display average results for time periods such as 7, 14, or 30 days.
  • Results can also be used to calibrate and confirm continuous glucose monitor readings.

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Last updated: November 14, 2021