A blood glucose meter is a device used for determining the approximate concentration of glucose in your blood. To monitor this, a variety of different blood glucose meters are available in the markets. These glucose meters differ in type, quality, price and number of features they offer. While choosing the best blood glucose meter, there are several things you should thoughtfully consider. In this blog post, some useful tips are given which will help you to choose the right glucose meters that really fits your needs and lifestyle. This blog post covers the following areas:
- Should you check your blood glucose level regularly?
- Do you really need a blood glucose meter?
- How accurate is a blood glucose meter?
- Checking the accuracy of your blood glucose meter
- Are blood glucose meters portable?
- How long does a test take using blood glucose meters?
- Different types of glucose meters?
- Importance of choosing the best glucose meter
- How does the blood glucose meter work?
- Choosing the best glucose meter that is right for you
- Recent advances in blood glucose monitoring tools
- Are audible blood glucose meters available for people with disabilities?
- Blood sugar meter without finger pricks
These important areas are explained further in the following section:
Should you check your blood glucose level regularly?
Talk to your doctor about whether you should be checking your blood glucose (blood sugar) on a regular basis. People who shall benefit from checking blood glucose regularly include those:
- taking insulin
- women who are pregnant. having a hard time controlling blood glucose levels
- having low blood glucose level
- having low blood glucose levels without the usual warning signs
- have ketones from high blood glucose levels
Do you really need a blood glucose meter?
If you have diabetes, you would definitely need a blood glucose meter to measure and display the amount of sugar level (glucose level) in your blood. Blood glucose (blood sugar) monitoring device is the primary tool you have to find out if your blood glucose levels cross your target range. This helps you to check your blood glucose level at any point in time. Regular exercise, diet, medications, stress, domestic issues, social pressure, nature of job and scores of other factors affect your sugar level. Using a blood glucose monitoring device can help you better manage your diabetes by tracking any fluctuations in your blood glucose level and ultimately save you from many chronic diseases and other associated complications such as heart disease, stroke, vision loss, hearing loss, foot damage such as infections and sores that don’t heal, skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections, depression and dementia.
How accurate is a blood glucose meter?
Many times, fingers are raised about the accuracy of the results of the glucose meters. However, its usability and efficacy are undoubtedly beyond question. Testing the meter regularly to ensure that it is still precise, accurate and updated is a good idea, as glucose meters can become less accurate over time. Blood glucose meters may malfunction and become inaccurate for the reasons of poor maintenances, that they may not be properly cleaned, ageing or if they become too hot or damp. Furthermore, if the test strips are outdated, they can lead to inaccurate results as well.
Checking the accuracy of your blood glucose meter
Many professionals recommend checking the accuracy of your blood glucose meter at least once a month. You can check on the accuracy of your blood glucose meter by performing a control solution test. This involves performing a test using control solution instead of blood on your blood glucose meter. In case, you do not have any control solution or it is already expired, many glucose meter manufacturers will be happy to send you a vial of control solution free of cost.
Are blood glucose meters portable?
All blood glucose meters today are light to carry and are mostly run on batteries, meaning that portability is not usually an issue. Some blood glucose meters are specifically designed for use on the move and may enable you to test without needing a surface to place your kit down, which can be a useful feature for the people that need to regularly check their glucose-level each day.
How long does a test take using blood glucose meters?
Most of the glucose meters do not take more than a few seconds to provide you with an accurate blood sugar level result. For most people, and in the case of most glucose meters, speed of testing is not really an issue. Most blood glucose meters will provide you with a result in not more than 2-3 seconds.
Different types of glucose meters?
Many different types of blood glucose meters are on the offer, varying from basic models to a more advanced version with multiple features and options having different models and prices. The quality and cost of blood glucose meters and test strips vary a great deal. Hence, you need to understand your options and know your requirements before deciding which model to buy.
Importance of choosing the best glucose meter
Keeping an accurate idea of your blood glucose levels is an integral part of successful diabetes management. A quality blood glucose meter/device allows you to do this. Choosing the right glucose meter will depend on the products availability as well as the cost of the test strips.
How does the blood glucose meter work?
To use a blood glucose meters, you first insert a test strip into the device. Then you need to prick your fingertip with a special needle or a sterilized pricker to get a drop of blood. You carefully touch the test strip to the blood and wait for a blood glucose reading to appear on the screen of the glucose meter. The digit appearing on the screen of the glucose meter is the sugar (glucose level) in your blood.
Choosing the best glucose meter that is right for you
When used, maintained and stored properly, blood glucose meters are generally accurate in how they measure glucose or sugar level. However, they vary a great deal in the type and number of features they offer. There are several elements you need to consider while choosing a glucose meter that is right for you.
Before selecting the best blood glucose meter, it really helps to know the basics of how the glucose meter actually perform its function. Here are several factors to consider when choosing a blood glucose meter:
Ease of use and maintenance of the glucose meter: Some glucose meters are easier to use than others. User-friendliness is one of the topmost considerations for the home-use while choosing the right glucose meter. Here you need to consider some important things such as:
- Are both the glucose meters and test strips convenient and easy to hold?
- Can you easily see the numbers on the screen?
- How easy is it to get blood onto the strip?
- How big a drop of blood is required?
- And how much data the glucose meter keeps in storage?
Insurance coverage offered for the glucose meters:Some insurance providers limit coverage to specific models of glucose meters or limit the total number of test strips allowed. Check with your insurance provider for coverage details in order to avoid inconvenience.
Cost of glucose meters
Glucose meters vary in price. This one of the most vital consideration for many buyers. People generally have the tendency to buy a top glucose meter with reduced cost. Therefore, it is important to consider the cost as well as the availability of the test strips. A lot of people generally do not take this point in consideration which may lead to troubles at later stages. Glucose meters from little known brands may be cheap but the ready availability of test strips may be an issue.
Ask about the special features to see what type of glucose meter meets your specific needs and best fits your lifestyle. Special features may imbibe large, easy-to-handle buttons and test strips, illuminated screens, and audio, which may be useful for people with impaired vision.
Information storage and retrieval
This is again critically important to consider how the glucose meter stores and retrieves information. Some can track everything you would normally write in a log, such as the time and date of a test, the result, and trends over time. Some glucose meters offer the ability to share your readings in real-time with your doctor with a smartphone app. Or some may offer the option to download your blood glucose readings to a computer or cellphone, then email the test results to your doctor.
After-sale support. Many glucose meters’ manufacturers include a toll-free number that you can call for help or after-sale service. Look for a meter that includes clear instructions that demonstrate the correct way to use the glucose meters. Some manufacturers offer user manuals on their websites as well.
Recent advances in blood glucose monitoring tools
Although finger pricks remained the gold standard for blood sugar monitoring devices, researchers are developing advance versions of glucose meters designed to take the pain out of the process. Here two important things are under considerations:
Alternative site monitor: This glucose meters allows blood samples to be taken from areas likely to be less painful than your fingertips, such as your arm, the palm of your hand or your thigh. This is considered not to be as accurate as fingertip samples when the blood sugar level is rising or falling quickly.
Continuous glucose testing: This version of glucose meters uses a sensor placed under the skin to measure blood sugar level. It transmits each reading to a small recording device worn on your body, a smartphone or a smartwatch; an alarm can be set to send alerts of blood sugar levels when too low or too high. However, this is relatively expensive.
Are audible blood glucose meters available for people with disabilities?
Some manufacturers have made audible blood glucose monitors that give verbal instructions and verbal test results to the users with certain disabilities. This includes meters that can speak in other languages besides English.
Blood sugar meter without finger pricks
Recently, a new blood sugar monitoring device has been introduced in the markets for patients with diabetes that doesn’t need backup finger prick tests. The pain of finger sticks and the cost of testing supplies deter many people from keeping a close eye on their blood sugar ultimately led to the innovation. The newly introduced blood sugar monitor uses a small sensor attached to the upper arm. Patients wave a reader device over it to see the current blood sugar level and changes over the past eight hours. If you have looked at the costs, features and other considerations and are still unsure which blood glucose meter to buy that really meets your need, here we recommend some options.