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How to Calibrate a Blood Glucose Monitor

Updated February 21, 2017

Blood glucose monitors or glucometers are devices individuals with diabetes use to monitor their blood sugar levels daily. Glucometers give readings within five seconds of applying the test strip to a blood sample. For accurate readings, it is important to calibrate the blood glucose meter. Calibrating a meter is making sure the meter has the correct code to match the test strip. Some meters code automatically. Others, you must code or calibrate manually.

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  1. Turn on your monitor or meter. If your meter requires you to insert one test strip at a time, it most likely has to be calibrated manually. Turn on the meter by inserting a test strip. Insert the test strip as far as it will go without bending the strip.

  2. Watch for the coding numbers. When the meter turns on or lights up the display, there will be a coding number, if you used the meter before. If the meter is new, instead of a coding number, there will be dashes. You must enter the code number to calibrate the meter.

  3. Look at the label on the test strip vial. The test strip vial has a coding number in bold print. This is the number you must enter into the meter. Enter the number by moving the up or down arrow. Once you have the correct number, hit the OK button on the meter. Your meter is now calibrated for the test strips.

  4. Turn on the meter. Meters that have a 10-test disc usually calibrate automatically, such as the Ascensia Breeze 2. To turn on the meter, you usually have a button located at the top of the meter. Once the meter lights the display, it is ready.

  5. Open the meter. Meters that have 10-test disc usually have a button to open the meter for access to the disc area. Once the meter is opened, place the disc in the meter making sure that you line up the disc with the provided space. Close the meter.

  6. Check your meter display. Your meter is automatically calibrated once the disc is placed in the meter. It should light up on the display screen with directions for taking your blood sugar.

  7. Tip

    Check the expiration date of your test strips or disc. Expired test strips will not give accurate blood sugar readings. Keep the meter and test strips or disc in a cool, dry place.


    Do not refrigerate your meter or test strips.

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Things You'll Need

  • Test strips
  • Test strip vial or container
  • 10-test disc


About the Author

Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.

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