Diabetes is a disease that requires quite a bit of ongoing maintenance effort from the diabetic. Diabetics must perform their own blood test at home on a daily basis, usually three to five times each day.
The medical supplies needed for this test include a blood glucose monitoring device, blood glucose test strips, a lancet to prick the skin and draw the blood.
The blood test, which luckily takes only about a minute, measures the amount of sugar, called glucose, in the blood. Glucose levels rise and fall in everyone, not just diabetics, throughout the day based factors such as what we've eaten (or haven't eaten), when we've eaten, and rest and exercise levels, to name a few. It's a bit of effort, but millions of diabetics successfully manage their diabetes everyday by making sure their blood glucose stays within the acceptable range of parameters set by their doctor. By keeping your glucose within those parameters, and you can improve your chances of preventing diabetic complications.
Common Diabetic Complications You'll Want to Prevent
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Nerve damage (aka, "neuropathy")
- Kidney diseases and damage (aka, "diabetic nephropathy")
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar coma
- Atherosclerosis, which in turn can lead to various types of heart disease and sudden cardiac events such as heart attack
Learn about the various tests that are used to diagnose Diabetes, as well as monitor the ongoing progress of the disease after it has been diagnosed.
If you're buying a blood glucose meter, you'll want to read the details of how to perform a glucose monitoring self-test with a glucose meter.
Glucose Meter Features to Consider
Some diabetics are directed by their doctors to check their own blood sugar (glucose) levels on their own, at home or wherever, three to five times each day, with their blood glucose meter, diabetes test strips, and lancet device. Here are a few key features to consider when shopping for the blood glucose monitor that will suit you best.
Common Features: The most common features that virtually all home glucose meters have now are:
- Small sample size
- Results in seconds (usually five to ten seconds)
- Alternate site testing (the ability to draw blood from other places besides just the fingertip)
Common Diabetes Test StripsIn general, test strips are made to only work with specific glucose meters. Basically, a test strip made by Accu-Check is only going to work in Accu-Check glucose meters. Therefore it is important to evaluate the features and benefits of glucose meters in conjunction with the glucose test strips. Most manufacturers produce unit-sized boxes of 50 or 100 strips.
OneTouch Ultra Diabetic Test Strips - Blue
- Use with the OneTouch® Ultra® Family of Meters and InDuo® Systems
- Results in just 5 seconds
- Requires just a speck of blood
- Automatically draws blood into the test strip and makes it easy to see when there's blood enough for an accurate reading
Bayer's CONTOUR Test Strips
- No coding needed. Learn more about how glucose meters and strips have coding and no-coding features.
- Uses only 0.6 microliters of blood. This is on the lower end of the scale. Typically, the blood requirement can range from 0.3 microliters to 1.5 microliters. Learn more about the blood drop requirements glucose meters require.
- Automatic compensation for common interferences, for reliable results. Reliable results matter.
- Test time: 5-seconds
- For use with Bayer (formerly Ascensia) Contour Blood Glucose Meter
- Automatic strip-filling action
FreeStyle Diabetic Test Strips
- For use with the Freestyle Blood Glucose Monitoring System
- Easily samples from sites other than the fingertip
- Works with blood sample the size of a pinhead
- Test Time: 15 seconds on average
- Automatically shuts off 2 minutes after last user action, helps save AAA battery life
- Insertion of the test strip automatically turns meter on
- More about the meter: The lightweight meter is designed for portability with an easy-to-read display
- More about the meter:Built-in data port allows users to download readings to a PC using FreeStyle Connect Data Management Software
Invacare TRUEread Blood Glucose Test Strips
- Requires 1.0 microliter of blood
- Test Strips are large enough to easily handle, this may be important to consider if you have arthritis or even some neuropathy in your fingers and hands
- Use with TRUEread or TrackEASE Blood Glucose Monitors
- The flip-top cap remains attached to the bottle and is easy to open. Again, ease of use and ease of handling may be a trade-off that is worthwhile to you given the larger blood sample requirement.
These few blood glucose test strips will get you started as you dig into researching the various manufacturers of glucose meters and strips. Remember to try to evaluate the features of both the meter and the strips at the same time, because once you pick the meter, you will be limited to those specific matching diabetes test strips. As always, involve your doctor in your decision-making process.