Glucometer - What is it?
People suffering from Diabetes or people who know someone who is, are probably aware of what a glucometer is. For the uninitiated, a glucometer (also called a glucose meter/blood sugar meter/blood glucose meter) is an electric, hand-held blood sugar monitoring device, which provides instant results.
This device determines the concentration of glucose in the blood. It comes with disposable test strips that are inserted into the glucometer. A small drop of blood (taken by pricking the skin with a lancet) is placed on these strips after which the meter instantly displays whether the glucose level is high, low or on the right path. The meter displays the level in units of mg/dl or mmol/l. Complications of diabetes arise when the blood sugar goes outside the safe range. It is important to catch this on time and intervene. Hence, a blood glucose meter prevents long-term and potentially life-threatening complications like blindness, limb amputation, kidney failures.
Previously the blood glucose meter was used mainly by people suffering from Type-1 diabetes but its used by Type-2 diabetes patients as well now. Whatever type the patient may be suffering from, the goal in treating diabetes is to ensure the glucose level in the blood is within the prescribed rate at all times. This can only be achieved by testing your glucose level repeatedly. This is why a glucometer is so important.
Most diabetic people are scared to rely on the glucose meter. They believe the results show only an approximate value of the glucose in the blood and that these results cannot not be used for complete treatment of diabetes. However, the glucometers nowadays are super powerful. They are being used in speciality clinics now.
Uses of a blood sugar meter:
Since they store all your previous readings in their memory, a blood glucose meter helps you keep a record of all your results, allowing you to develop a pattern.
You will know how your body is responding to certain medicines, exercise and food items
The pattern of your readings will help your doctor determine a picture of how your treatment is working out
How does a glucometer work?
The test strips that come with the device are made up of an enzyme called glucose oxidase. This enzyme oxidises glucose. After you place a drop of blood on the test strip, this enzyme reacts with the glucose in the blood, producing an electrical signal on the meter. The higher the strength of the signal, higher is the level of glucose.
It is the function of the pancreas to keep a track of the sugar levels in our body. They secrete insulin and glucagon to keep the levels at 100 or so mg per deciliter of blood. For diabetic patients, because their pancreas dont function upto their complete strength, glucose testing has to be done through other means. There is where the glucose meter comes in.
How do you use a glucometer?
Wash your hands thoroughly, either with soap or you can use a cotton dipped in alcohol. Your hands have to be infection free. But remember, your hands have to be completely dry before you take blood from them. Wet hands can dilute the blood resulting in wrong numbers
You can rub your hands together to stimulate blood flow
Insert the test strip into the blood glucose meter and wait for it to be ready.
Use the lancet to prick your finger and place the drop of blood on or at the side of the strip. You can adjust the setting on your lancet to control how far the needle can penetrate the skin. Most people are able to draw the right amount of blood from somewhere in the middle. You can start off by adjusting it to number 2. Remember to dispose the lancets off after using them. This prevents needle-stick accidents.
The blood sugar meter will take seconds to display the reading. You can use a cotton swab to blot the spot where you drew blood from.
How to take care of your glucometer?
Always keep your blood sugar meter and the strips in a clean and dry place. Avoid keeping them in extreme temperatures like in your car with the AC on or on top of a heater.
Make sure the strips are not expired. Expired strips can lead to inaccurate results.
Keep the strips in their original container. The cap should be sealed very well to keep humidity away
What are the best times for Gluco test?
Before breakfast (fasting)
Two hours after a meal
When you don’t feel well
Before and after rigorous exercise (and hours later)
Other events that could require a blood sugar test:
Changes to your routine while travelling
Changing or adjusting your medication or insulin
When you are experiencing low or high blood sugar symptoms
When you’re pregnant/trying to get pregnant
Before and after any kind of surgeries
After dental procedures
During any illness
While taking medicines for an illness
Keep note of special circumstances during Gluco test results
There are some activities that can lower or increase your glucose level. When you take a test, make a note of what was happening before you took the test. These events could include:
Eating a big meal
Sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia
Being in extreme temperatures, hot or cold
Testing at high altitudes
Feeling stressed or anxious
These activities are very important for you to take note of while you use the blood sugar meter. Only then can you understand your readings better.
Accu Chek glucometer - Buy one today
An Accu Chek glucometer is one of the best you will find in the market today. The latest Accu-Chek Instant S is extremely accurate and user-friendly. There is no set-up required in this Accu Chek glucometer - just insert a test strip, apply a small drop of blood and read your result instantly. We love this Accu Chek glucometer for it gives results in less than 4 seconds and comes with a Accu-Chek Softclix lancing device for virtually pain-free testing.