4 Important Tips To Maintain And Clean A Blood Glucose Meter Properly

A blood glucose meter is a must have especially for diabetics who always have to monitor their blood sugar levels. Of course, just like any medical equipment, it is important to properly take care of it and maintain (clean) it well. By doing this, it can be operated for a longer period of time. We know that these meters do not really come cheap (especially those that are of premium quality) and it is only right that we take care of our investments. So here are some simple steps on how to clean our meters well.

How To Maintain and Clean Your Blood Glucose Meter Correctly

  1. First thing that you must know as you clean blood glucose meter is that you can never wash it with running water or dip it in water. The reason for this is because the internal part can never get wet or else it will be damaged. So what can you do then? Just come up with a solution of mild soap and water and dip a small part of a cloth. Again, make sure that it is not soaking wet. Otherwise, this will defeat the purpose of not washing it. So gently use the damp cloth to wipe it. Do it thoroughly and carefully.
  2. The next thing to do as you clean one is to wipe the lancet. Yes, you can wipe that with the same cloth dipped in the same solution. Do not attempt to spray the lancet with a cleaning solution as this will damage the item too.
  3. Now if you want to have more thorough cleaning (enough to kill all the germs and bacteria) because there is dirt or even dry blood, you will need a stronger solution. Take one part of household bleach and mix it with ten parts of water. Mix the solution thoroughly and once again, use a cloth, wet a small area and use it to wipe the dirty area. You can be sure that it will clean it well.
  4. Lastly, if you are thinking that you can use a 70 percent alcohol solution or even ammonia to disinfect the meter, you are certainly wrong because even though the 2 products will disinfect it, they are not safe for the gadget. The alcohol will most certainly ruin the LED read out and the ammonia is bad for metals. What you only need are gentle cleansers which is exactly what mild soap is and bleach when mixed with water.

Here are more tips for you to maintain your blood glucose meter and keep it functioning properly for a long time. First, you have to make sure that it is kept in a cool and dry place. It is best if the temperature is below 86 degrees F. Direct sunlight is also its biggest enemy so place it in a shaded area. In addition, never place your lancet, meter and test strips inside a refrigerator as the surroundings are damp and will damage them for sure.

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5 Must-Follow Steps To Calibrate Your Blood Glucose Meter Correctly

It is important for people to check their blood glucose level once in a while to see if they are diabetic or within the normal range. Especially for diabetic patients, it is extremely important for them to always monitor their blood sugar level. You may consider this a precautionary measure for yourself so that your blood sugar will not increase up to dangerous levels. Of course, in order for this to work, you have to ensure that your glucose meter is properly calibrated. Otherwise, what is the point of checking? You will not get the correct results anyway. So for diabetics out there who own one, here are the correct ways to calibrate it before you can start using it for your test.

5 Must-Follow Step To Calibrate Your Blood Glucose Meter Correctly

  1. Firstly, you have to check the code on the test strip vial. This can usually be found in bold print.
  2. Next, turn the meter on. Most units automatically do this once that you place the test strip inside. The test port can usually be found either on the top of the meter or at the bottom area.
  3. You can tell that the meter is not properly calibrated if the code that appears on the test strip vial does not match the one on the meter. If the meter is brand new and has never been used before, it is highly possible that it does not have a code at all. A flashing blank space will be displayed instead.
  4. The calibration process starts the moment when you set the code into the meter itself. How do you do that? It depends on the unit that you have. There are some meters that come with up and down arrows while some have only one button. Just continue pressing the button until you see the code that matches the vial.
  5. The last step is for you to test if it works by taking a blood sample. Once the test is complete and the display on the blood glucose meter is correct, you will be sure that it is properly calibrated. The easiest way to determine if your readings are accurate is by bringing it to your health care providers and check against the readings taken using their glucose meters.

Here are some important points to remember before you calibrate blood glucose meter. First, always make sure that the codes match (the code on test strip vial and the one on the meter). Second, use it until you are very familiar with it. Remember, each unit is different depending on the brand and make. Third, the code numbers should match at all time. Fourth, never use outdated strips and never bend them too.

For your benefit, you may like to read about the 8 common mistakes that affect the accuracy of blood glucose test reading.

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3 Essential Tips On How You Can Possibly Find A GlucoWatch?

What is Glucowatch? A couple of years ago, this product created such a buzz because of its revolutionary idea that will surely make the life of diabetes patients a lot simpler. As the name suggests, it is in fact a watch that you can wear around your wrist that will keep track of your blood glucose levels. Simply put, it uses low level electric currents to monitor your sugar level throughout the entire day. This will surely beat pricking you all the time in order to get a small blood sample. It is convenient, it is so easy to use and it is absolutely pain free. There is only one problem though, it can be really difficult to find. However, here are some tips on how you can possibly stumble upon a unit.

Tip 1: You can start by looking online. Diabetic health websites are everywhere and they contain practically everything from tips on how to maintain your blood sugar levels and regulate it, vitamins and supplements to help you keep it low, exercise routines, proper diet, to even blood glucose meters. If you are lucky, you may chance upon one in one of these websites.

Tip 2: Otherwise, you can choose to visit your doctor and ask where you can possibly get one. While you are there, you may get a prescription as well because there are stores that only sell Glucowatch to patients who actually have prescription from their doctor. With that, you can go to a pharmacy and they will sell you one with no questions asked. Since there are hospitals or doctors who can order it for their patients, why don’t you ask your doctor if he can do the same for you?

Tip 3: Lastly, you can never go wrong with eBay and other online auction sites. You will be surprised by the wonders that you can actually find one in these sites. Glucowatch is FDA approved hence online websites are allowed to sell them. So why don’t you log on right now and check out if it is available in stock?

Keep in mind, however, that while these watches are great in theory, there are some people who say that it did not work for them while it did work for others. Why don’t you check it out and find out for yourself if the product is right for you? If it does, it will spare you from all the pain and mess and hassle of using the traditional blood glucose meter which has been the only method of measuring blood sugar for years.

Glucowatch is not a myth. It is a real product; however, its acceptance in the market is still pretty tough. Maybe it is because of the revolutionary idea or because it does not work as well as it claimed. Either way, there’s only one way to find out. Try one yourself.

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What Are The Normal Human Blood Glucose Levels?

Do you know that with everything you eat, even that smallest candy contributes to the amount of sugar or glucose that you have in your blood stream? Glucose is the same as sugar and for younger people or those who are healthy; they have nothing to worry about. However, there are those who should be careful with what they eat. Sometimes, they even have to take maintenance medicine in order to regulate their blood sugar and keep it within the normal human blood glucose level. That is because having high or low blood sugar will give a person negative health reactions.

People usually think that sugar is present in sweets and are high in products such as ice cream, pastries and cakes. While that is true, sugar is not only present in them. Even carbohydrates and starch are sugar and that is why even though a person does not eat a lot of sweets but loves rice, his blood sugar can still be high. At a normal level, sugar fuels a person and gives him energy to do as many things as possible. However, if it is not within the normal range, that could lead to a wide array of problems. That is why people who are diabetic taking insulin which is the hormone that has the capacity to convert glucose into glucagon. What it does is to change the sugar to fat.

So what is considered as normal for human blood glucose level? Well, that would be between 70 and 150 mg / dL (which mean milligrams per deciliter). Do not be surprised if your blood sugar is the lowest in the morning when you take the test first thing after you wake up and highest right after a meal. Remember, sugar is easily absorbed into the human bloodstream so an hour or two after eating, your blood glucose level tends to rise. That is also the reason why people tend to feel sleepy after a meal. Too much sugar can render a person sluggish and sleepy. Too little of it will leave a person weak.

So what happens if a person’s blood glucose is not within the normal level? Well, it really depends. The most common problem is known as diabetes but this is actually the result of hyperglycemia. While diabetes is not lethal, its complications are. High blood glucose levels can and will also damages the eyes, the kidneys and even the nerves. That is why it is a must not to take it for granted and work on it right away. Some signs and symptoms are lethargy, losing ones consciousness or even problems with mental functioning.

It takes a lot of discipline in order to keep your sugar within the normal level. It means having to eat the right food, a balanced diet and exercise. However, it is always best to first consult your doctor for anything beforehand.

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How To Choose The Right Blood Glucose Meter For Yourself?

There are over 25 types of blood glucose meters available in the market today and approved by U S FDA. To pick the right one for your home, you should seek advice from your own health care provider particularly your diabetes educator. Ideally, let him/her recommend one for you.

Today, we are going to share with you some tips to help you in making the right choice.

Accuracy

Apart from avoiding the common mistakes that affect the accuracy of blood glucose test reading, the quality of the meter itself plays an important role. Obviously you may think that a better quality meter would usually cost more, this may not be true in certain cases. What we recommend is to get one and bring it along during the next visit to your health care provider. Compare the results with their blood glucose test or equipment to check for accuracy.

Complexity

Think about whether a simple meter suits you better or you would prefer one that is more complicated yet giving you better features. If it is meant for an old folk with difficulty in handling the complexity, obviously something simple with ease of use will be more appropriate for him or her.

Combination

What if you have high blood pressure (hypertension) as well as diabetes (hyperglycemia)? Will you be carrying 2 different meters around? There are meters that combines the 2 or even more different functions into a single but it may cost more.

Size and Weight

Size really matters when you need to carry the meter everywhere you go. Go for one that is portable, light-weight and compact in size so that you can put into your bag or even pocket easily before travelling.

Display Size and Location of Buttons

If you have reading difficulty, it is recommended to go for one that has larger display and easy to  press buttons so that you will not press wrongly. This is especially useful for old folks too.

Memory Capacity

Different meters have different amount of memory storage capacity. Some can hold hundreds of test records over a period of time while others can only hold records over a few days. If you need to monitor your blood glucose over a longer period, you should opt for one with bigger memory capacity.

Size of Blood Sample

Some people have problem squeezing enough blood sample for testing which results in giving false reading. If the patient has this problem, choose a meter that requires lesser blood sample to operate correctly.

Frequent Test

If you are someone being treated under intensive insulin therapy and require frequent testing, you should get one that is better quality and keep it handy each time you need to use it whether in your office or at home.

Size of Test Strip

Obviously you need to have a test strip that is large enough so that each time when you inserted it, you can easily pull it out after reading.

This article is only meant for informational use and may not be used as medical or health care advices for yourself. For any concern, you should always seek proper and professional advices from your own health care provider.

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GlucoWatch – What You Need To Know Before Getting One?

In previous article which describes what is a GlucoWatch (a wrist watch version of blood glucose meter), we share with you about this new painless technology of blood glucose testing where fluid is extracted through the human skin and glucose level in the fluid is measured using the device (GlucoWatch) to determine your blood sugar level.

There are some important facts which are worth mentioning for your knowledge before getting one.

  1. In March 2001, FDA (U.S. Food Drug And Food Administration) has approved the use of GlucoWatch as a prescription device for adults with diabetes.
  2. In August 2002, FDA has approved the use of GlucoWatch for use by children and adolescents with diabetes.
  3. A new calibration of the device through the use of a finger-stick blood glucose test is required every 13 hours when a new skin pad is replaced to ensure accuracy of the meter results.
  4. Individual GlucoWatch readings should not be used to determine and make changes to the insulin dosage. It is recommended that you should take several readings over time and confirm it with a finger stick blood glucose test.
  5. Readings might be skipped when patients perspire especially during exercise or in an extremely hot humid environment.
  6. Patients may develop rashes on the skin that come directly in contact with the watch. However, this may not apply to every patient as different people has different skin condition.

Overall, a GlucoWatch is a valuable tool you can add on to your list.

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8 Common Mistakes That Affect The Accuracy Of Blood Glucose Test Reading

Most blood glucose testing meters sold in the market are precise and accurate since they have been heavily tested and checked by the experts in labs before approval for sale. In most circumstances, the accuracy of test reading are affected by mistakes made by consumers or users whom are doing the test. Here are 8 common mistakes that we have observed.

1. Contaminated meter or testing strip

Meters that have not been properly cleaned and contaminated with old blood may cause false high or low readings. Testing strips that have been used should be thrown away after each use. In addition, storage of strips should be secured at all times with the cap tightened.

2. Meter or testing strip not within the normal room temperature

Meters or testing strips that are exposed to either too high or too low room temperature will cause false reading. Be reminded that you should always keep all your blood testing equipments in a dry and normal environment. Avoid them from the reach of your children if possible.

3. Expired or used testing strip

Strips that have been outdated or used in previous test should be kept away whenever a new test is to be performed as they may affect the result too.

4. Uncalibrated meters

You should calibrate your meter for it to have a correct code matching the test strips you are going to use. Always remember to perform your calibration before any test to ensure reading accuracy. As some meters calibrate automatically, you may like to put this into consideration when choosing your blood glucose meter.

5. Too little or large drop of blood

Too small a drop of patient blood for testing may also give a false low reading. Patients should remain calm and relaxed at all times. In addition, there should not be an over-squeezed amount of blood too.

6. Strip not fully inserted (may sound silly but it really happens)

One most common mistake is that the testing strip is not fully inserted into the meter while performing test. Most people are usually not aware or ignorant about this. Learn more about how to correctly perform a blood glucose test using a meter.

7. Low in battery

When low in battery, the performance of the meter may be affected and thus resulted in unreliable results. In worse case, it may cause the inability to power on the device or sudden failure of the device due to dead batteries.

8. Patients with anemia or dehydration symptoms

Test conducted on patients with anemia or dehydration symptoms may face false high reading problem too.

Always bear these 8 factors or mistakes in mind before performing any glucose test at home as an undesirable false reading may be in worse case, cost a human life.

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Blood Glucose Meter

A Blood Glucose Meter comes with the following advantages,

  • portable and convenient, yet inexpensive.

  • short testing time (only 3 – 60 secs depending on different models).

  • can be a life saver during an emergency.

However, a Blood Glucose Meter does come with the following disadvantages too,

  • accuracy is a concern as it can be false positive to hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). Immediate measurement to hypoglycemia may seem higher than hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) which makes it less useful.

  • some models cannot perform test without light.

(Tips)

Certain newer models of Blood Glucose Meter like Optium Xceed by Abbott Diabetes Care, comes with back-light functions which comes in handy when you are in cinema, or if you not want to wake up your partner in the middle of the night.

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Important Pointers For A Blood Glucose Meter

There are certain features of a Blood Glucose Meter which are important for you to know so that you understand how it works and know how to read the results too.

As different brands and models of Blood Glucose Meter have their own features, you should hence check your own user manual or product manufacturer to find out more.

1. Measurement Range Of Different Meter Models

Most Blood Glucose Meters come with a broad range of measurement values from as low as 0 to as high as 600 mg/dL. However, as the range is different among models, you should interpret individual meters’ low and high values carefully.

2. Calibration For Meters

As time passes, your glucose readings might not be linear over the entire range. If you happen to come across very high or very low values which you suspect could be due to inaccuracy, you should perform a calibration for your meter. Kindly refer to your manufacturer’s user manual for instructions.

3. Cleaning And Maintenance

To clean and maintain a good meter, you should first check with your manufacturer on the correct method to do so. Refer to your manufacturer’s website if you are not able to contact them easily. Below are some general tips when it comes to cleaning a meter.

Dos:

  • Clean your meter with only soap and water using dampened soft cloth.
  • Clean your meter regularly to maintain its accuracy.

Don’ts:

  • Avoid using glass or abrasive cleaners, cleansers with ammonia, or alcohols.
  • Avoid damaging the sensitive parts of the meter.

If you have an important feature or useful tip on Blood Glucose Meter to share, kindly drop a comment below for us.

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Who Should Use A Blood Glucose Meter?

A Blood Glucose Meter is the key element of home blood glucose monitoring (HBGM) commonly used by diabetic (hyperglycemia) patients or patients low in blood glucose (hypoglycemia). As a Blood Glucose Meter is designed to be convenient and portable, it is typically purchased by patients’ family members or their closed ones to be used in their residential homes, or used by health organizations in their mobile blood testing or health checkup stations for simple blood test.

People should not use a Blood Glucose Meter for the purpose of comprehensive blood test eg. checking of full blood count or platelet count in your blood (haematology). Instead, you should visit your nearby medical clinic or hospital since they have the right facilities there.

(Tips)

It is recommended that all families with elders should keep a Blood Glucose Meter in their first-aid box at home regardless of whether they are ill or not, since it is affordable in cost and can be a life saver when there is an emergency.

Related Articles :

- What Are The Purpose Of A Blood Glucose Meter?

- How To Perform A Blood Glucose Test Using A Blood Glucose Meter?

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