What Is A Blood Glucose Test Strip?

A Blood Glucose Test Strip is usually a plastic strip embeds with chemicals that will cause a reaction when they come in contact with the glucose in your blood. A glucose meter is able to measure this reaction and generate the result in a numeric form that represents the level of glucose in your blood and displays it. The numeric result can be presented either in mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre) or mmol/l (millimoles per litre).

A Blood Glucose Test Strip is disposable and should only be used once. It is an essential component when coming to blood glucose testing. Without it, a glucose meter will be totally unusable. Hence it is always essential to ensure a continuous supply of non-expired test strips.

Where To Purchase And Price Range :

A typical Blood Glucose Meter usually come with 10 – 20 Test Strips (as bundled) for FREE. Test Strips can also be purchased separately in multiples of 50 or 100 with price varies, either online (shipping costs incurred) or directly from any medical store.

Important :

To ensure accurate measurement, it is strongly recommended that you should use glucose test strips that are recommended for the particular make and model of glucose meter you are using. Make sure you read the owners manual that comes with your meter for this.

More Information :

– In June 2008, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) reported that some patients were using LifeScan OneTouch Ultra test strips with Abbott Precision Xtra meters which resulted in false and misleading low glucose readings. Read more information here.

– A Blood Glucose Test Strip is not the same as Pregnancy Test Strip nor Urine Test Strip.

Is There A Blood Glucose Meter For Visually Impaired Diabetics?

Yes, there is! A Talking Blood Glucose Meter is a specialized glucose meter that is designed for the blind or low-visioned diabetics without any assistance. In short, it walks the patient through the blood glucose testing process with audible (talking) step by step instructions and provides the test results through voice too. Such meters are totally audible and are “Auto-code” (No-Coding required) which means lesser steps and lower chances of false results due to coding error.

How It Works Actually?

Users simply inserts the test strip from the top of the meter. The meter will be automatically turned on and he or she will then be guided through the testing steps with voice prompts. Test results will be heard after 6 seconds with time and date as well as any memory or error code. The best part is, if any voice message is not heard properly at any step, the user can easily press a button to repeat the last message or test results again.

Another distinguished feature of this meter is the design of the buttons. Its tactile feature allows visually-impaired users to feel and locate the different buttons easily. Buttons also come with raised imprint to allow users to feel and identify them with ease.

Other Features :

  • Lesser blood sample needed (0.6 micro-liter drop of blood) means finer gauge lancets to significantly reduce your pain which testing.
  • Alternate site testing other than finger tips (eg. palms, forearms or upper arms etc).

Example :

Prodigy AutoCode Talking Flash Glucode Meter

What Is A Continuous Blood Glucose Meter?

A Continuous Blood Glucose Meter is basically an FDA-approved device and commonly used by diabetes health care team, to measure and record your blood glucose levels through the day and night, and provide the average result for 3 to 7 days, while you continue your daily activities at home.

How It Works?

  • A tiny glucose sensing device (known as “sensor”) will be inserted either 45-degree or 90-degree under the skin of your abdomen to measure your glucose level in the tissue every 10 seconds.
  • Result will be sent to a pager-sized device (known as “monitor”) which is usually attached to your belly. An average glucose value will be recorded every 5 mins.
  • Calibration will take place at different times of the day eg. every 12 hours and you can also record other information like any insulin taken, meals or snacks consumed, or exercise done, into the monitor.
  • After the monitoring period, the sensor will then be removed by your diabetes health care team and all information stored will be downloaded into the computer for analysis. Results can be presented in graphs or charts that can help to reveal patterns of glucose fluctuations. Necessary adjustments will then be made to your diabetes management plan if needed.

Price Range :

  • Estimated cost of around $800 – $1400 for the transmitter, receiver, charger and casing.
  • Estimated cost of $35 per 3-day sensor or $60 per 7-day sensor.

Note(s) :

This type of Blood Glucose Meter is not intended to replace standard blood glucose monitoring but more for capturing continuous results (eg. every 5 mins for up to 72 hours) to analyze for any trend in glucose levels and work out a more effective treatment plan for diabetes patients.

What Is A Wrist-Watch Blood Glucose Meter?

This “wrist watch” version of Blood Glucose Meter, also known as GlucoWatch, is a new technology glucose testing product that will test your blood glucose through fluid drawn from under your skin with electrodes, rather than your blood itself. The process is painless.

How It Works?

A GlucoWatch depend on a skin pad that adhere to the skin, and measure your blood glucose using electric current. When your blood glucose goes too high or low, an alarm will sound off.

Key Features :

  • Readings can be generally taken up to 3 times an hour. Certain models of GlucoWatch can take as frequent as every 10 minutes.
  • Skin-pad can be worn as long as 13 hours yet need to be changed periodically.
  • Ideal for pregnant women who want to catch low blood glucose that occurs during the night.

Note(s) :

  • A new calibration is required whenever a new skin-pad is replaced which should be every 12 hours.

Update :

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the GlucoWatch as a prescription device for adults with diabetes on March 22, 2001. This is the only non-invasive glucose monitoring device currently approved by the FDA.

What Is A Food Monitoring Blood Glucose Meter?

A Blood Glucose Meter with food monitoring capability allows you to manage your blood glucose before and after each meal so that you can be aware of the effects of your food and portion choices. You may then make necessary adjustment to continue to enjoy the food you like yet maintaining your body glucose level everyday.

How Does It Work?

Add a meal flag – You can simply flag your blood glucose results as before or after meal. This will help to remind you of the impact of your food choices. Over time (7 days, 14 days or 30 days), the meter will provide you with the meal averages too.

Add a comment – After each test, you can store your result and attach a simple comment to it to note why your glucose level for that test was particularly high or low eg. “Mild Exercise”.

Benefits :

A Food Monitoring Blood Glucose Meter can typically store results and show either the average of all results, average of all before-meal results, or the average of all after-meal results. It can also show average results for 7 days, 14 days or 30 days.

Some will come with free diabetes educational material (user manual, DVD and a booklet) to help you manage your diabetes around meals.

Example :
OneTouch Ultra2 Meter

What Is A Combined Wrist Blood Pressure And Blood Glucose Meter?

A Combined Wrist Blood Pressure And Blood Glucose Meter is fundamentally a 2-in-1 product that eliminates the need to purchase a Blood Sugar Meter and Blood Pressure Monitor separately. It is most ideal for people with both diabetes (hyperglycemia) and high blood pressure (hypertension) for home use. It is typically compact, light-weight, comfortable, designed for ease of use and accurate measurements.

How It Works?

Use your wrist to take your blood pressure using the oscillometric BP method with wrist cuff technology. When testing your blood for glucose, it works almost the same like a Blood Sugar Meter except that now you place your blood sample on the same device too. Stores results for both blood glucose and blood pressure tests.

Price Range :

Slightly cheaper than you get both devices separately. Around $50 – $56 per unit.

Note :

This device does not measure your blood glucose using the wrist function (you need a Wrist-Watch Blood Glucose Meter for this). The wrist function is solely for blood pressure monitoring only. Blood test for this still requires traditional blood sampling with test strip and testing with a lancet device.

What Is An All-In-One Blood Glucose Meter?

An All-In-One Blood Glucose Meter is a compact, light-weight and convenient meter that you can place into your backpack, briefcase, suitcase, carrying bag or sport bag where-ever you go. Due to it’s convenience, you can now test more often so you can monitor and manage your diabetes (hyperglycemia) closer.

Different models of such meters arrive with different designs and conveniences. Below are some key features which you need to know.

Key Features :

  • No individual test strip handling. Certain brands/models come with preloaded test strips within. All you need is to punch a button and the test strip is ready for you. See Example.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer to handle test strips yourself, some would come with a drum of test strips yet with a built-in blood glucose meter as the cover. Upon running out all strips or expiration date, you may simply discard the whole unit away. See Example.
  • Attachable or detachable lancet device. Certain brands/models comes with a lancet device that can be used either attached or detached from the meter itself.
  • Lesser test sample (as low as 1uL) and less painful.
  • Comes as light weight as 4.2 oz.

Pricing Range :

$30 to $35 per unit

What Are Lancet Device And Lancet?

A Lancet in medical terms, refers to a surgical knife with a short, wide, pointed double-edged blade, used especially for making punctures and small incisions.

A Lancet Device is a medical device that holds the lancet firmly in place. When the user triggers the device, the lancet will move ahead in a linear way to prick against any skin or surface in a controlled manner.

Purpose Of Lancet Device And Lancet :

Lancet device and lancet are typically used in blood glucose monitoring to draw out a small amount of blood sample from the patient for testing of glucose level. The blood sample will be dropped onto a test strip and inserted into a blood glucose meter for result.

How To Choose A Good Lancet Device :

  • Comfort level (some lancet devices allow you to adjust the depth which the lancet goes into your skin. Pick one that provides different levels of depth so that the process can be less painful.
  • Ease Of Use (pick one that has ease of adjustment setting and ease of triggering to release the lancet)
  • Safe To Use (pick one that does not expose the lancet)

Important :

Do not recycle a lancet. Always remember to insert a new one before you use the lancet device and dispose the lancet immediately after each use for safety purpose.

What Is A Blood Glucose Meter?

A Blood Glucose Meter is also known as a Blood Sugar Meter, Glucose Meter or Glucometer. It is fundamentally a medical device which measures the concentration of glucose in human blood using a blood glucose test strip.

By testing a person’s glucose level using a Glucose Meter allows him to be aware of his medical condition in the shortest period of time. If a person’s blood glucose is either too low (hypoglycemia) or high (hyperglycemia), life-saving remedial action can be carried out immediately and a human life might be salvaged in time.

Question: How Does One Look Like?

A Glucose Meter comes typically in the size of a palm of the hand which may not necessarily be. Most of which are battery-operated and portable.

Question: What Cannot Be Tested?

A Glucose Meter cannot be used for complex (haematology) blood tests like Full Blood Count, Platelet Count etc.

Note(s) :

If a patient’s blood glucose is too low, you can quickly offer him high-sugared food/drink to consume which will help in bringing his glucose level out of risk. Else if his blood glucose is too high, you can offer him with extra insulin to bring down his glucose level (please consult your health care provider further for this).

Important :

Treating consistently high blood glucose level is important so that it can decrease a patient’s chances of developing heart, blood vessel or nerve complications from diabetes.