There are millions of people around the world suffering from diabetes. For the diabetics a regular measurement of the blood glucose levels is necessary. They may be advised by the doctors to take blood glucose tests 3-4 times a day. A diabetes management plan would be designed to help keep glucose levels in control. When blood glucose testing is to be done multiple times in a day you may prefer to have a handy blood glucose test meter. The home glucose testing meters are easy and compact and you can carry them to office, school, or check while traveling etc.
Blood glucose test meter
A blood glucose test meter or glucometer is easy and simple medical device used to measure amount of glucose in the blood at a given point of time. The glucometers are extremely handy and portable. Their functioning is simple; a tiny drop of blood is obtained by pricking the skin with a lancet. The drop is placed on a disposable test strip, which in turn is inserted in the given slot. The meter then reads and calculates the blood glucose levels and they are displayed on a screen. The reading may be in mg/dl or mmol/l depending upon the unit followed in the country. The levels are recorded and flashed to you on the screen.
Some of these meters may also indicate if levels are very high or low. The levels can be recorded in a log book. This makes it easier to analyze the trends in the readings. Similarly you may also record them on a spreadsheet on your PC which makes it even easier to retrieve graphs and trends. The readings beyond the normal range can give you a warning. You may make changes to the plan accordingly.
Types of blood glucose meters
The first glucose meter was developed and marketed in 1980s. Bayer and Roche were among the first blood glucose test meter manufacturers and have become synonymous to quality generic blood glucose meters. The blood glucose meters package comes with mainly a test strip to take sample blood, a battery powered palm sized meters with a screen to display readings, and clock and memory. The memory size may be about 400 to 1000 test results along with date and time. Generally an option is available that allows display of average of 7, 14, 30 readings.
These meters mostly have sophisticated data handling capability. You can transfer data to your PC using download software and store it. The data can be opened in a spreadsheet where you may analyze trends with graphs and charts. Some meters also allow alternate testing site like forearm, palm, thighs etc.
The test meters mentioned earlier require you to prick your finger or any other point which can be painful. Some non-invasive devices are being developed that would enable continuous monitoring. Research on technologies like infrared or near infrared light, ultrasound and electric currents is underway to build safe and accurate non-invasive devices. The non-invasive meters may replace these earlier meters with continuous glucose sensors which may further help reduce complications by timely information on hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. 2 CGMS are available right now, Medtronic’s Minimed Paradigm RTS and DexCom’s STS system.
Blood glucose test meters are integral part of the self monitoring kit. They play an important role in your diabetes management which can help prolong complication of diabetes.
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