Diabetes has caught up with millions of people around the world. It is vital that regular blood glucose level tests are undertaken regularly by patients suffering from type 1 diabetes. The doctors would advice you to plan out a diabetes management plan which involves medication, exercises and diet planning as well as undertake regular monitoring of your blood glucose levels. If you require testing multiple times in a day you may prefer to have a blood glucose test meter and monitor the levels as prescribed throughout the day. The added advantage is you would not be limited with where you are, home, office, school, traveling etc. If you have your own blood glucose test meter handy, you can carry out the test at the scheduled time properly
Blood glucose test meter
In simple terms blood glucose test meter or glucometer is a medical device that helps determine the concentration of glucose in the blood at a given point of time. The meters are extremely handy and easy to you. The working is simple; it just requires a tiny drop of blood to be obtained by pricking the skin with a lancet. It is placed on a disposable test strip, which is inserted in the given slot where it reads and calculates the blood glucose level. The glucose levels are then displayed on a screen in mg/dl or mmol/l. whatever the levels, high or low are recorded and flashed to you. You can keep a close watch on your levels by recording them on a log book. You can easily analyze the trends in the readings. The low or higher than normal readings can give you a warning about the need for attention and changes to the plan.
Types of blood glucose meters
Since the 1980 when the first glucose meters were developed and marketed there have been several improvements in them. Among the first blood glucose test meter manufacturers were Bayer and Accu-chek meters by Roche who have now become synonymous to quality generic blood glucose meters and other medical products. These meters mainly contain a test strip which collect the blood drop, the battery powered palm sized meter with a window where the readings are displayed, clock and memory. You can store about 200 – 400 test results with date and time depending upon the capacity of the memory. There is also an option to display an average of recent glucose readings. Many of these meters now even have sophisticated data handling capability. Many of these meters are also offering alternate testing site so that you need not have to prick your finger every time which may be uncomfortable after a period of time since you are using it regularly. You may test from the forearm, thighs etc.
There are non-invasive devices being developed now-a-days that enable continuous monitoring. Research is being carried out on technologies like infrared or near infrared light, ultrasound and electric currents. It is being speculated that the non-invasive meters may replace these earlier meters with continuous glucose sensors. These may lead to decrease in complications by quick information on hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. There are 2 continuous glucose monitoring systems or CGMS available right now, Medtronic’s Minimed Paradigm RTS which has a sub-cutaneous probe attached to a small transmitter which sends levels to a small pager sized receiver every 5 minutes. Another one is the DexCom STS System which has a hypodermic probe with a small transmitter. The receiver is about the size of a cell phone and operates even up to five feet from the transmitter. It has a two hour calibration period and levels are logged at five minute intervals for up to 72 hours. Even the alarms can be set for high and low glucose levels.
Blood glucose test meters are a vital part of the self monitoring kit. These meters play an important role in your diabetes management which can help prolong complications of diabetes.
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