Overview of Condition
Blood Sample Chart
|What Are Glucose Monitors?
These are small computer devices that read your blood glucose levels. They are an essential tool for people with both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. By measuring their glucose levels every day, diabetics can better understand how their body is reacting to diet, stress, exercise and illness. For insulin dependent diabetics, the reading on the monitor will help them determine if they need an insulin shot and if so, what dosage. Prior to the invention of glucose monitors (also called glucometers or glucose meters) in the 1980s, the only method for blood glucose monitoring was a urine test. The monitor itself is not the only piece of equipment you need to test your levels. You will also need test strips, a lancing device to draw blood and accessories like a carrying case and a disposal container for used lancets.
Test Strips: There are 2 types of test strips, one that checks for glucose and the other which tests for ketones, although the latter sort is less common. Test strips are specially prepared components which are inserted into the monitor and then the person places a drop of their blood on it. Chemicals on the strip react to the blood and allow the monitor to take a glucose reading.
Some glucose meters are easier to use than others. Generally a reading is taken as follows:
Most monitors only require a small drop of blood to perform a test - about 0.3 to 1.5 microliters in size. The chart above on the left side of this page, shows you how small this actually looks in reality. If you'd like to learn more about your condition in general, have a read of our articles on the causes of diabetes and the symptoms of diabetes. If you are insulin dependent, have you considered using insulin pens?
All the leading monitors on the market today are quite accurate - although they do not have the same accuracy as a lab test. Meters are probably plus or minus 10 percent compared to a lab test. Most mistakes that arise from using a meter are likely to due to user. To avoid a poor reading:
How often you test depends on the diabetes diagnosis you received: which type of diabetes you have, the kind of treatment you are using and the general stability of your blood glucose levels.
No, all meters require a blood sample, but some meters boast the ability to provide a glucose reading using alternate site testing. This means you can take a blood sample from another part of the body such as the fleshy part of the palm or the forearm. Alternative sites, however are not reliable sources of blood an hour after eating or immediately after exercise. Note: it is important to remember that in managing your disease, there are many other diabetes tests you should undergo on a regular basis. Be sure to plan these with your healthcare team.
|Related Articles on Glucometers
For more diabetic related issues, see the following:
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