Even though diabetes is a lifelong illness, being diagnosed with the condition doesn’t mean it is the end of the road for you. For instance, since the advent of the glucose meter, it is now possible for people diagnosed with diabetes to manage the condition from the comfort of wherever they might be. However, with over 94 different models in the market, it is incredibly crucial that you understand the results of your meter, so you don’t end up making costly health mistakes. Here is all you need to know about this life-changing device.
What exactly is it?
Simply put, it is a small medical device that one can use to measure the concentration of glucose in the blood. This meter can be used either at home or in health settings. It is however frequently used from home by diabetic patients as it helps them keep track of their glucose levels hence enabling them to take the right steps when it is either too low or too high thereby preventing further complications.
Using and understanding the results of your glucose meter screen
With most models, the process of testing is quite easy. All you need to do is
– insert the disposable test strip into the meter
– prick your fingertip using the special needle known as the lancet
– Place a drop of blood to the test strip
After you’ve followed the above steps, you can expect your blood glucose level to be displayed on the meter’s screen within the next five seconds. Even though they are usually accurate, these meters often measure and show the amount of sugar present in your blood in different ways depending on the brand. It is therefore essential that you understand the results on the screen well as some patients have ended up making fatal mistakes by misunderstandings the results.
Understanding the results of yours, however, shouldn’t be that hard. Nonetheless, it is easy to make mistakes which is why you should ensure you learn how it works before you use it. Due to the rules and regulations put in place by the FDA, most meters often come with a well-detailed instruction manual so you can have somewhere to refer whenever you are stuck. These manuals contain all the codes and abbreviations that might appear on the screen after a test. Ensure you read and understand it well so you can fully comprehend your results. Also, most manufacturers offer 24/7 online help so you can make inquiries whenever the need arises.
Why should you test your blood sugar level?
Now that you know how it works and what to be on the lookout for to understand your results, why is testing your blood sugar level that important? Well, testing regularly enables you to
- Keep track of your blood sugar level, hence allowing you to ensure that it is on the right range.
- Understand how well you are responding to treatment
- Understand how your lifestyle affects your blood sugar level, for instance, your diet and exercise routine
- Keep track of the effect that diabetes or other medications that you are on, have on your sugar levels
- Realize how other factors, for instance, emotional disorders such as depression or other illnesses affect your glucose levels
When should I test my blood sugar?
Usually, the time and frequency of testing your glucose level depend on the type of diabetes you have been diagnosed with and the treatment plan that your doctor put you on. For instance, most diabetes type 1 patients are advised to test their sugar levels at least four to ten times a day depending on its severity, while type 2 patients are encouraged to carry out the test a few times, for instance, two or three depending on the amount of insulin they use.
Therefore, in most cases, depending on the two factors, your medical practitioner will advise you on the right time. Nevertheless, most doctors recommend testing to be carried out at least three times, that is;
- In the morning before taking anything. This gives you an idea of how the body processes sugar throughout the day
- Before taking a meal. Typically, sugar levels in the blood before one takes any meal are low. Therefore, if your glucose level is high, then this is a sign that your body is having difficulties in managing blood sugar
- After eating. Testing after a meal enables you as well as your doctor to understand how your body reacts to food and certain nutrients to be specific. Testing glucose level after meals is especially recommended among pregnant women as it helps identify gestational diabetes.
Factors that affect the accuracy of the meter’s results
The test strip
Apart from the meter’s quality, the accuracy of the results mainly depends on the quality of the test strip in use. For instance, damaged or outdated strips are more likely to give the wrong results. Also, these strips tend to be affected by moisture, heat, and humidity; therefore, not storing them in a sealed container will also contribute to you getting inaccurate results.
Dirt and other substances
Holding your testing kit with dirty hands or placing it in an area with substances such as alcohol or uric acid also results in inaccurate results. It is therefore vital that you keep your hands clean and dry as well as ensure that the area you are placing your kit on is clean before you can carry the test.
The scientific term used to describe the number of red blood cells in your blood is hematocrit, and this too affects the results. For instance, the higher your hematocrit, the lower your glucose level tends to be and vice versa. Therefore, if you have abnormal hematocrit values, chances are you won’t get accurate results using the meter. It is thereby vital that you first consult with your doctor.
Other factors affecting the results include
- Monitor problems, for instance, failure to fully insert the strip into the monitor might interfere with the results.
- Not placing enough blood on the test strip
- Improper coding
Factors to consider while choosing your meter
As noted earlier, there are over 94 models in the market currently. Thanks to this, picking the right one for you can seem quite hectic. Nevertheless, with the following factors in mind, it should be more smooth sailing
The meter’s size
Nowadays, these meters come in an assortment of sizes and shapes. However, this is a factor you cannot overlook as it affects your convenience. For instance, if your doctor asks that you frequently test, a glucose meter of a smaller size will suit you better as it will be easy to carry around. On the other hand, if you plan on using it less frequently and have problems with your eyesight, then a meter with a larger screen and bigger buttons will suit you better. Visit officialtop5review.com to find more on glucose meters.
Buying the unit itself might be cheap, but the total cost of the test strips can prove to be a bit high especially if you need to keep track of your glucose levels frequently. Therefore, instead of looking at the price of the meter, be sure to consider what you will spend on the strips first.
Other factors to consider
– The coding
– Data storage
– The testing speed and ease of use
– The amount of blood needed per test and pain associated with testing
– Added features, for instance, ability to transmit data to other devices, auto timing or spoken instructions.