blood glucose meter is useful and essential in your home monitoring kit

Diabetics need to ensure great control on their blood glucose levels to remain healthy. Normally you can undertake lab tests to know your blood glucose levels. However, when the situation requires that you monitor the blood glucose levels multiple times in a day you may find it better to use blood glucose meter. These meters are simple and easy to use and quiet accurate. You can check your glucose any time at home, work, school, play where and whenever the need arises. Having a regular check of glucose levels enables you to plan your diabetes control treatment considering effects of diet, medication and physical activity.

Blood glucose meter

A glucose meter also called as glucometer is a very handy medical device that is used to find the approximate concentration of glucose in the blood. It requires just a small drop of blood that is obtained by pricking the skin with a lancet. It is then placed on a disposable test strip, which the meter reads and then calculates the blood glucose level. The levels are then displayed in term of mg/dl or mmol/l.

Features of blood glucose meter
* Size: The glucose meters are extremely handy and their average size is now approximately the size of the palm. They are mostly battery-powered.
* Test strips: These are the most important consumable element of glucose meters. They contain chemicals which react with glucose in the drop of blood that is used for each measurement. Plastic strips are also available that have a small spot filled with glucose oxidase and other components. The test strips can only be used once and are then discarded.
* Coding: The test strips may vary from batch to batch. Manufacturers have introduced a system where certain models require user to enter a code found on the vial of test strips, or a chip that comes with the test strip. By doing this, the meter will be calibrated to that batch of test strips. If the code is entered incorrectly, the meter reading can be up to 4mmol/L inaccurate. The implications of incorrect coding can be serious for patients actively managing their diabetes. There are 50% chances of an insulin dose error of 2 units which may place patients at increased risk of hypoglycaemia.
* Volume of blood sample: Newer models of these meters now require the size of the drop of blood to be around 0.3 to 10 ?l. The older models required larger blood samples. The Smaller volume also reduces the frequency of unproductive pricks. The smaller drop volumes have enabled “alternate site testing” like forearms or other less sensitive areas instead of the fingertips.
* Testing times: The time taken to read a test strip is usually in the range of 3 to 60 seconds for different models.
* Display: The glucose levels can be displayed in units like mg/dl or mmol/l in a small window. The unit displayed depends upon what is preferred in that country. There are even some machines that can toggle between both types of measurements but there have been a couple of instances in which someone with diabetes has been misled, thus care is necessary.
* Glucose vs. Plasma glucose: Glucose levels in plasma are generally 10%–15% higher than glucose measurements in whole blood. Most home blood glucose meters measure the glucose in whole blood while most lab tests measure the glucose in plasma. There are many meters on the market that give results as “plasma equivalent,” though they measure whole blood glucose. This helps patients to easily compare their home test results with measurements in a lab test.

Blood glucose meters are handy devices that help you monitor blood glucose levels regularly without the need to visit the laboratory. Thus, helping you better manage your diabetes and prolong the onset of diabetes related complications.

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