Today, a majority of our population is suffering from different kinds of diabetes. People suffering from diabetes need to undergo a constant check up of their blood sugar levels so as to prevent their glucose levels being out of control. In earlier days, diabetes testing was quite a cumbersome process, but thatâ€™s not the case anymore. Now, you can easily check your blood glucose level with the help of a glucose monitor and diabetes test strips.
Although diabetes test strips give you an exact figure of your glucose levels, these can be quite expensive to use. Hence, you must make sure to use these test strips properly so that you do not end up wasting them without obtaining any accurate results.
How to Use Diabetes Test Strips
Before starting the procedure, be ready with your diabetes test strips, glucose monitor and lancing device. You will be performing the piercing action with the lancing device, hence make sure to choose a part of the body (like finger tip) that you are most comfortable with.
Place one of your diabetes test strips in the glucose meter and test the code present on it. Now, match this code with the code number printed on the test strip vial label and proceed only if the code matches. In case you do not find a match, you will have to adjust the meter code by using up and down keys.
Once you get matching codes, wait for the glucose meterâ€™s ready signal which may look like a blood drop on your test strips. Once you are able to see the symbol, pierce your finger with the help of lancing device and extract a blood drop. Now place this extracted drop of blood on one of the diabetes test strips that you placed in the meter. This should be done as per the instructions given in the manual.
The glucose meter will notify you of the results by producing a beep or any other sound. After this, you can discard your test strip and your device will be turned off automatically.
Proper Handling of Diabetes Test Strips
The test strips for diabetes should be properly stored within their original container with a closed lid. The special material of the container helps in preserving these test strips by keeping them dry. Also, it is best to keep the strips in one container only instead of transferring them continuously from one container to another.
The diabetes test strips should be used immediately after they are removed from their storage container. Avoid exposing these to the outside environment, particularly direct light, for prolonged periods of time. Avoid keeping the test strips in a humid area such as a bathroom or kitchen. Keep them at a dry place in a closed container.
Handle the strips only with thoroughly washed and dried hands in order to avoid wetting them. Also, diabetes test strips should be kept away from extremely hot or extremely cold conditions.
If youâ€™re diabetic, or know someone who is, chances are that youâ€™ve at least seen a glucometer. If you donâ€™t know what one is, theyâ€™re a necessary tool used with diabetes to check blood sugar levels at certain times of day. Theyâ€™re manufactured by many different companies and come in different styles and with different options. Glucometers test blood samples from patients to determine the level of blood sugar; this allows the diabetic to monitor their blood sugar level and administer sugar or insulin as needed.
A lancet is used to puncture the skin, usually on a finger tip, and obtain the blood sample. This sample is the placed on a test strip which is placed into the glucometer. The small computer inside the machine then calculates the level of sugar present in the sample and displays this as a number on the built in screen. Levels between 80 and 100 are normal, while above indicates the need for insulin and below indicates the need for a source of sugar. Normally, these sources of sugar should be small and contain refined sugars, like a piece of candy or chocolate.
With the aid of a glucometer, patients can avoid debilitating conditions like diabetic comas. A diabetic coma results from both extremes in blood sugar levels. These comas are frightening and can be life threatening, but with the aid of a glucometer, medication and a healthy diet, the risks of these can be greatly lowered.
All glucometers work on the same principle; a blood sample is analyzed for sugar levels. Glucometers differ mainly in size, placement of test strip and the location where blood samples can be obtained. Most have to have a sample from a finger tip, but this can be a painful experience, especially when the tests must be performed multiple times in a day. Newer glucometer models allow for samples taken from the inside of the forearm and other areas, though these glucometers tend to cost a little more than older styles.
Some glucometers require the test strip to be inserted after placing the sample on it, though these are older models and are becoming increasingly rare. Newer models require the test strip to be placed into the top of the glucometer, with the absorbent strip facing out, toward the patient. The sample is then touched to the top edge of the test strip, which wicks the sample into the strip itself and is then tested by the computer, and results displayed for the patientâ€™s information.
Glucometers are battery powered for portability, though some have rechargeable batteries like a cell phone. Most work on simple AA batteries, though. Many diabetics carry a small, preloaded syringe of insulin with them and keep a glucometer for home use and one in their vehicle or on their person. A glucometer must be used with the correct test strips, or the sample will be analyzed improperly, or not at all. To determine which test strips are right for a certain glucometer, read the information in the Userâ€™s Manual that comes with all new glucometers. This will give specifics like brand of test strip recommended and style needed.
Glucose monitors are a mainstay of the treatment regimen for anyone with diabetes.Â Glucose monitors can differ greatly in form, but they all share a universal function–to measure the amount of glucose in the blood. Most glucose monitors utilize a test strip that contains chemicals that react to the blood in predictable ways that vary according to blood glucose concentration.Â This reaction can be measured electronically by glucose monitors to obtain a value for blood glucose concentration. While all approved blood glucose monitors are highly reliable, there are a number of differences in terms of weight, appearance, testing speed, testing convenience, and other factors that are important to diabetics. Remember that the need to test blood glucose levels is the single most important facet of diabetes control, so it is worth while to do some research before selecting glucose monitors.
One important component to consider when looking at the features of different glucose monitors is the size and ease of use of the glucose monitors. The monitor should be large enough to be easily used yet should be small enough to easily carry on your person. The actual optimum size will clearly vary by individual, so it is impossible to make a sweeping recommendation on the best size of glucose monitors. If possible, look at glucose monitors that require the least number of steps possible. Many glucose monitors can give consistent results after only a couple of steps, whereas others can be quite complicated to operate. Glucose monitors that are easy to use and operate have less of an impact on the patient’s life.
When shopping for glucose monitors, the diabetes patient should evaluate the quality of the glucose monitor’s display. A display that is difficult to read is clearly more difficult to use than other glucose monitors but, more importantly, a display that is difficult to read increases the likelihood of errors which could result in compromised treatment. Display quality is of particular importance to those who suffer from some of the eye difficulties that are a common side effect of diabetes. It is preferable to use glucose monitors that are backlit rather than using a dimmer front lit display. A backlit display is much easier to read in poorly lit areas.
For those who are considering using a form of continuous insulin delivery such as an insulin pump, the ability to keep track of historical glucose levels is vital. Many glucose monitors will save results for a week or more, but more data is needed to create the sort of base line that one would like to have when using automated insulin injection systems.Â For those who are familiar with basic computer accounting and/or charting software (think of spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel), some of the higher end glucose monitors offer the ability to interface with a computer (typically via universal serial bus (USB) connections) and download the results which can then be charted and shared with your physician.
Blood glucose meters, along with the related and required diabetic test strips, are the single most important part of a successful diabetes health care regimen. Blood glucose meters are technologically advanced devices that detect chemical reactions that occur on the diabetic test strip between chemicals on the strip and the patient’s blood to measure the blood glucose concentration levels. As any diabetic knows, keeping your blood glucose levels in check is the entire goal of treating the disease, and it is impossible to do this effectively without continuously using blood glucose meters to monitor the concentration.
Blood glucose meters are not cheap and purchasing blood glucose meters can present a real financial hardship to those who do not have sufficient insurance to cover the cost.Â In order to deal with the ever increasing price of blood glucose meters, many diabetes sufferers have turned to the internet.
It is possible to find great deals on blood glucose meters and other diabetes supplies online because of the reduced costs of the merchant, who saves on the overhead that goes with running a brick and mortar pharmacy or medical supply service. However, as with any kind of online commerce, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind when shopping for a blood glucose meter online.
Be sure to read product reviews online and ask your physician for advice about a particular model when shopping around for blood glucose meters.Â Even the most efficient, technically advanced blood glucose meters will not be useful if they are too complicated to operate or have a display that is not easily read. While most manufacturers and sellers of blood glucose meters are reputable, they may, by their nature, not necessarily highlight the weaknesses of their blood glucose meters. You can count on other consumers to point out these deficiencies, however.
One tip to keep in mind when purchasing blood glucose meters is that newer models offer many convenient functions and features that older blood glucose meters do not. Since blood glucose meters are highly computerized, they can take advantage of advances in computer hardware and software that seem to occur at an exponential rate. Newer blood glucose meters can return their results much faster than their older counterparts, which makes for less waiting for the patient. Many new blood glucose meters require a smaller volume of blood to achieve accurate results, which is clearly beneficial for anyone who must use their blood glucose meters multiple times per day. New models of blood glucose meters can also draw blood samples from other parts of the body besides the fingertips which means that they can do their work while inflicting less pain on their users than was the case with older generations of blood glucose meters.