For people with diabetes, blood sugar monitoring is a part of their health and fitness routine. Since running lab tests every once in a while can be inconvenient, it is advisable to run blood glucose tests at home using glucose meters. However, it is necessary to exercise discretion while choosing a suitable glucose monitoring device. You must do good research about the products available in the market and their features to make an informed purchase decision.
Types of Blood Glucose Meters
We can divide glucose monitoring devices into three different types: non-invasive, invasive and continuous.
- Invasive: First, the blood sample is taken by using a lancing device, test strips and lancets. These elements are often sold in kit form at the time of the purchase. New strips and lancets have to be replaced in pharmacies later. Although constraining for the user, this type of blood glucose meter is the most accurate method of measurement.
- Non-invasive (or minimally invasive): The market in recent times has seen the arrival of different kinds of measurement systems, consisting of Physico-chemical sensors that administer the medicine when they come in contact with the area of measurement, usually the arm.
If you use the meter to scan the area, you get the blood glucose level instantly. This is revolutionary for people with diabetes who no longer have to inject themselves half a dozen times a day or replace test strips and lancets. Nevertheless, options in the market are limited, and the results so far have displayed that the systems offered are nearly not as accurate as the invasive ones. The sensors of these systems also struggle to stay in place.
- Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM): In the case of CGMs, the blood glucose meter offers the possibility of continuous measurement. It is usually worn by patients, and it has an implantable sensor equipped with a remote transmission system, which helps measure blood glucose levels in the interstitial fluid. You can also accurately assess the changes in blood glucose levels over a long period. This reduces stress because the user doesn’t have to prick their fingers every day.
However, the CGM has its constraints, such as maintenance issues and difficulties in understanding and interpreting the data. There is the issue of sensor malfunctions; the difference between capillary blood glucose and the value displayed by continuous glucose measurement can disorient the user.
You should always know the basics of a glucose monitoring machine to know how it works. First, you need to insert a test strip, followed by poking a clean fingertip with the needle to obtain a drop of blood. The test strip should be carefully touched to the blood; a blood glucose reading would then appear on the screen.
Factors to Consider When Using a Blood Glucose Meter
When used properly, blood glucose meters are normally accurate in how they measure glucose. Here are several factors that need to be considered before choosing a blood glucose meter.
- Ease of use: Make sure that the test strips and the meter are comfortable and easy to hold. The numbers should be clearly seen on the screen.
- Special features: You should inquire about the features to see what meets your specific needs. Special features may include illuminated screens, easy-to-handle buttons, and audio, useful for visually challenged people.
- Cost: Compare the costs and keep the expense in mind before purchasing a glucose meter.
- Information storage and retrieval: You should consider how the meter stores information and how you can retrieve it. Some can track everything, such as the time and date of a test, the result, and trends over time. Some meters can share your readings with doctors with the help of apps. Others might offer the option to download your blood glucose readings and then email the test results to your doctor.
- Support: Many manufacturers have a toll-free number to be contacted for help in case of any inconvenience. Look for a meter that comes with a user manual/ instructions.
In conclusion, we can say that it is imperative to make sure that the blood glucose meters one is investing in are worth the time, money, trust and effort. Always remember that nothing should come in the way of your good health.