Are you living with diabetes or have a loved one with diabetes? Have you been told that you have pre-diabetes? If so then you probably have come across the word glucose meter or already have a clue as to what this is. In this article we cover the basics of blood glucose meters and their importance.
What is a blood glucose meter?
A blood glucose meter is a medical device used to check the amount glucose (sugar) in your blood. Keeping an accurate idea of the levels of glucose in your blood is a very fundamental aspect of management of diabetes, be it type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The goal of treatment is to achieve close-to-normal blood glucose levels as much as possible. Blood glucose meters are the key element to achieving this goal. They allow us to monitor our blood glucose levels in the comfort of our homes.
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With the right education, blood glucose meters help us manage diabetes by keeping track of any fluctuations of the glucose levels in the blood, hence guiding us to act appropriately to either increase and decrease our glucose level depending on whether its high or low in the blood. Blood glucose monitoring helps your doctor to make a better plan of management for you (for example, medication dosing).
How is it used?
The skin is pricked with a lancet so that a small drop of blood is obtained. The blood is placed on disposable test strip that the meter reads and uses to calculate the blood glucose level. The meter then displays the level in units of mg/dl or mmol/l. Fingertips are generally used to obtain the blood sample because of the accuracy of the results when samples are taken from these sites, but other areas can also be used.
Are they easy to use?
Blood glucose meters are portable and very easy to carry around. People do travel around with their glucose meters and are able to check their blood glucose when the need arises. They are also very easy to use. Some may however be easier than others. There are many types of blood glucose meters that are available in the market, from basic models to more-advanced meters with multiple features and options. Blood glucose meters very quick to give results. Most glucose meters will provide results in 5 seconds. They generally do not take more than a minute to give you results. This feature makes them very convenient even when traveling.
It is very important to study your options before deciding which glucose meter to buy. Some glucose meters may have other features. For example, some can check the presence of ketones (this is useful for people with type 1 diabetes) and some are able to also check for uric acid (useful for those patients living with gouty arthritis). The cost of strips is also an important factor.
How accurate are glucose meters?
Every glucose meter must meet the accuracy standards set by International Organization of Standardization. This is generally usually available in the meter reviews. It is also important to know that blood glucose meters generally become inaccurate when they are not taken care of properly, cleaned properly or stored properly. This can lead to a malfunctioning glucose meter that will give you inaccurate results. Expired or incompatible test strips will also give you inaccurate results.
Blood sugar monitoring is an essential part for diabetes management. This can be done conveniently enough, anywhere and anytime with the help of a portable glucose meter. Hence, if you are diabetic, then a blood glucose meter should be your best friend. Proper use and storage of glucose meters is crucial for maintenance of accurate results. Study your options against your needs before deciding which model of the blood glucose meter to buy. Work with your doctor for plan of management once you are able to monitor your own glucose at home.