As we discussed on our page regarding the myths that surround diabetes, you should never simply rely on how you feel when it comes to blood glucose levels. Just because you’re light-headed doesn’t necessarily mean that your glucose level is low, it could simply be that you’re coming down with a cold. That’s why, instead of relying on how you feel to monitor your blood, you should always have a blood glucose machine around to give you accurate readings.
Blood glucose machines go by many names. Some people call them glucose test meters, diabetes glucose monitors, or diabetes glucometers. But they’re all designed to do one thing: tell you the amount of glucose in your blood. And it’s important to know that these little monitors have some hidden secrets that you should know in order to get the one you need. Let’s take a look at the most important things to know about blood glucose machines.
Test Meters and Test Strips Are Matched
One of the first things for you to know is that test strips and test meters are matched. If you have a Breeze 2 glucometer, you have to match it to Breeze 2 test strips. Have a Bayer Contour monitor? You’d better be using Bayer Contour test strips. Most of the time the strips won’t even fit in the wrong monitor, but if it does then it’s going to give you inaccurate readings. Once you choose your monitor, make sure that you have easy access to refills of the diabetes meter test strips.
You might have noticed the blood glucose machines are relatively cheap considering all that they do. That’s usually because the manufacturer is not making any money on the machine, but instead on the test strips that you have to purchase perpetually. (This follows the Gillette idea of “giving away the shaver handle and selling the blades.”) Because glucometers are relatively inexpensive, it’s not really a big deal to switch companies if you find a monitor that better fits your needs. Which brings us to the next point...
Get What You Need
When you’re looking for a glucose test meter, there are many options to choose from. As you’re reading through and doing the research, make sure to find the model that you’ll get the most use from. Sure, all of them will give you a reading of your blood sugar level, but there are bells and whistles that might be important to you. But if you want the simplest meter possible, those extras might get in your way.
Has your doctor told you to keep very close track of each and every blood test? There are glucose test meters that can record the previous 500 readings. Is the diabetes glucometer for a child just learning their numbers of an elderly person with poor vision? Large buttons and readout numbers might be a priority. If you’re interested in making the absolute most of your monitor, find one that is Bluetooth enabled so that it can be paired with a smartphone in order to recognize trends in glucose levels.
But how can you be sure that our monitor is giving you accurate readings every time? Well,...
Control Solutions Are A Necessity
When you purchase a glucose test meter for the first time, you might be unfamiliar with the idea of control solutions. A control solution is a liquid that contains a known amount of glucose set by the manufacturer, and you put this solution onto a diabetic monitor test strip just as you would a drop of blood. If the known amount of glucose matches the number on your monitor, then you are sure that your monitor is accurate. If the monitor’s readings are off, it is probably time for a new monitor or calibrate it if it allows. Like test strips, control solutions are also matched to the monitor.
When should you use the control solution? Most manufacturers suggest that you test your monitor every time you open a new box of diabetes meter test strips to ensure that you haven’t gotten a bad batch. You should also use it if you’ve recently dropped the monitor or have changed the batteries.
Also be sure to use the control solution to check your blood glucose machine’s accuracy if you get extremely high or low glucose readings from a blood test. If you find that that meter is accurate, you should take steps to alter your glucose, which could involve consulting a doctor.
And speaking of your doctor…
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice On Monitoring
There are many factors that will determine when, and how many times a day, you should use your blood glucose machine. The primary one is if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It can also change depending on your age, weight, typical readings, diet, medications, and your history with the disease.
Always follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to using your monitor; they might even suggest a particular model, especially if they specialize in diabetic medicine. If you’re bad about leaving a monitor at home when you need it at work, purchase a second identical unit to use at work (and make sure to check each with the proper control solution as necessary). Monitoring your glucose levels gives you very important information, and use of a glucose monitor should not be skipped.
Monitors Give Out
Every machine gives out eventually, and that includes blood glucose monitors. If yours stops working, you don’t want it taking your previous 500 reading with it. If yours isn’t bluetooth- or computer-connected, you might want to keep a backup record on paper in a journal. That way you can cross-reference your numbers with other information such as food and exercise.
Read Times Are Pretty Standard
Monitors have gotten very accurate when it comes to determining blood glucose, but they’ve also gotten much faster than those used in the past. When you’re taking a look at glucose test monitors on our site, you’ll be able to compare the read times on most of them. In almost all cases, they will deliver results in just five seconds or less, and some will even recheck the sample multiple times in those five seconds.
Get Exactly What You Need!
NYC Diabetes Supplies carries a wide array of blood glucose machines that are easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to carry with you anywhere. There’s a great variety when it comes to what they offer, so make sure to take your time and find the one that best meets your needs. After you’ve made your decision, don’t forget to add the matching test strips and lancets to your cart as well so that you don’t have to worry about recording for a while. Our diabetic supply company looks forward to being your partner in monitoring your diabetes.