As a diabetic, you don’t have the luxury of simply sitting down for a meal and eating to your heart’s content. You have to watch your food portions, and test your blood sugar before and after every meal.
Fortunately, a blood sugar tester can simplify this process and help you regain a bit of that normalcy that you desire.
How does the blood sugar tester work?
A useful tool in diabetic management – more specifically, blood glucose testing – the blood sugar meter/ tester has a test strip with a chemical called glucose oxidase.
Glucose oxidase reacts with blood producing gluconic acid. The meter then measures the current produced between the terminals in the strip. Thereafter, using an algorithm, the meter shows your blood glucose levels, based on the difference in current.
If you have type 1 diabetes, go for meters that detect the presence of ketones, which make your susceptible to ketoacidosis.
Most meters are portable and run on batteries. But if you need greater convenience, you can have more than one for home or office and while travelling.
What if you have eyesight problems?
You’re still covered. Simply get a blood glucose monitor that gives verbal instructions and results have. Some even speak other languages apart from English.
The testing procedure
The blood sugar tester has a simple-to-use process (a key benefit for any diabetic person who has many other issues requiring attention, besides diabetic management):
- Prick your finger with a needle (some meters test your forearm, upper arm and thigh, although they may give different results compared to your fingertip).
- Apply a drop of blood on the test strip.
- Place the strip on the meter.
- Within 15 second, your results will be ready.
- Store the results for discussion with your doctor.
Some meters even have charts and graphs showing movement of blood sugar levels over several months. If the results are inconsistent, check the test strip carefully.
Although the glucose monitors feature data storage, maintain clean records of tests done on blood, urine or ketones. This will assist your doctor in determining required changes in meal plans, exercise and medicine.
Accuracy of blood glucose meters
According to Dr. Alan Cariski, project leader for ISO 15197,
“More accurate glucose measurements will help patients to better regulate their diabetes through more informed treatment decisions…”
That’s why strict accuracy standards (ISO standards) were issued in 2013.
Therefore, manufacturers are required to test glucose meters with blood samples of at least 100 people. Two meters and a lab analyzer are used on each sample, and the accuracy should be +- 15% for most of the readings.
Care and maintenance
Meters must be cleaned regularly. Never use dirty or aging meters.
During regular use:
- Store the monitor in a dry area.
- Replace the cap immediately after use.
- Keep a watchful eye on the expiry date.
- Don’t refrigerate it.
- Store it in a cool place. If kept in a hot place, the test strip may become unusable.
- If the test strip comes into contact with crumbs, food or liquids, or gets damaged in any way, don’t use it.
The importance of testing your glucose levels cannot be emphasized enough. A tester helps you gain confidence in managing diabetes and make critical decisions when your blood glucose levels are high or low.