Glucose Monitors – The Basics
Monitors enable diabetics to self-monitor their condition on a daily basis. Monitors are available for sale through medical supply stores as well as your local drugstore pharmacy. A monitor or meter is made of several components. Even though monitors or devices come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they offer the same function and elements, including:
today most monitors provide an easy-to-read digital display panel. Blood glucose readings are displayed on the panel in a small screen, and offer equivalent measurements of whole blood or plasma. Monitors that offer a plasma equivalent are similar to the type of test performed in the laboratory, offering results that are more precise.
some monitors require a blood strip that is inserted into a special slot found on the device. The test strip slot accepts a very thin strip of material upon which you place a drop of blood. The monitor then analyses the makeup of the drop of blood and gives you your blood glucose level results within a minute.
Some blood glucose models don't require a test strip and are constructed with self- enclosed test strips, cartridges or drums, which automatically feed into the meter. This is convenient, as it doesn't require the individual to personally handle the test strips or try to smear the drop of blood on only one end of the test strip.
a variety of monitors offer memory features that record previous glucose readings. Some save more data than others do. Some types of meters also offer enough memory to allow you to designate or mark readings taken around the time you take your insulin dose, as well as offer a number of average glucose readings throughout the day.
blood glucose meters operate off of a battery. When the battery starts to run low, the device will make a low beeping sound.
Depending on the blood glucose monitor model, some also include voice modules that verbally announce your blood glucose levels. This is especially beneficial for those with vision difficulties. Others offer a backlit panel display, as well as a glow-in-the-dark case that makes it easier to test your blood glucose levels at night. Most monitors have a large display panel with easy-to-read digital numbers.
Depending on the amount of money you want to spend on your blood glucose meter, you may also find some that enable you to download glucose data onto a software program that comes with the monitor.
A variety of manufacturers design and manufacture glucose monitor kits. Some of the most common include but are not limited to:
The One-Touch Ultra 2 Diabetes Meter Kit blood glucose monitoring system costs approximately $65, while the Accu-Chek AVIVA Diabetes Meter Kit averages about $75. Cheaper models include the TRUEbalance blood glucose monitoring system, priced under $20.
Before purchasing a monitor, talk to your doctor, follow his recommendations for the type, brand of monitor he or she feels is the most accurate, and best suited to your needs and ease of use.
Not all monitors are created equal, and some work better than others are. To make sure that the brand and model you choose will be adequate for your needs and will last a long time, check online resources such as Consumer Reports, or other websites that offer product reviews. In this way, you can find out what other people who have used that model have to say about its function, usability, and longevity.
You can purchase a monitor at a drugstore, a medical supply store, or online over websites such as Nextag, eBay, or brand manufacturer websites. Compare several different models before making a decision, and find out how much accessories and supplies for that specific model will amount to every month.
The bottom line is to take your time, research your options and choose the most inexpensive model you can while at the same time benefiting from quality and longevity with your purchase.