Diabetes is certainly an unfortunate diagnosis. But although it may be an incurable disease, it doesn’t mean you can’t lead a normal life. With the right treatment plan consisting of medication, healthy diet, exercise and a few other positive lifestyle changes, you can successfully manage diabetes. An indispensable tool for establishing an effective treatment plan and preventing complications is at-home blood sugar testing.
To do so, you need to own a blood glucose meter. A blood glucose meter is a digital device that’s a bit smaller than a cell phone, which you use to track fluctuations in your blood glucose levels. Today, there are many models available that differ in their features as well price. With that being said, you need to consider some important factors in order to make the right choice.
Blood glucose meters can be sold in kits that include lancets and sometimes test strips. These kits can be bought from diabetes centres, local pharmacies and online chemists. Their prices usually range from $10 to $100 per kit. Additional test strips can range from $25 to $50. Since these can be costly medical devices Australia subsidises the purchase of blood glucose meters and six months-worth of test strips. To be eligible for subsidised blood glucose meters and test strips you need to register with the National Diabetes Services Scheme.
Method of Testing
Depending on the method of testing used, there are three types of blood glucose meters: meters that test blood from your fingertip, those that test from other sites, and continuous glucose monitoring system. Although they are the first type of blood glucose meters invented, fingertip meters are considered to be very reliable. You prick your finger with a small lancet and put a drop of blood on the test strip which is then placed into the meter to measure the blood sugar level. The results are available in 15 seconds and can be stored for future use.
But if fingertip testing is too painful for you, there are newer meters which allow you to test other sites such as your upper arm, forearm or high. You can find these meters at specialised stores for medical devices Australia wide. However, this method is considered less reliable than when testing from the fingertip which shows changes more quickly. And finally, there’s also the continuous glucose monitoring system which is a wearable device that monitors your blood glucose levels throughout the day and sounds an alarm alerting you when there are spikes or lows. However, this type of meter can be very expensive and isn’t subsidised.
Different monitors come with different memory capacities and are able to store anywhere from 99 to 2000 readings. If you want to have more insight on how your glucose levels fluctuate, look for a model with large memory capacity. Additionally, the ability to connect your meter to a smartphone or a PC can be another helpful feature. This way you can download your results and use specialized software to check for patterns in blood glucose levels. Having a copy of your readings can also make it easier to share information with your health care professional.