Blood Glucose Monitor - Use of Blood Glucose Meter
Self Monitoring of Glucose in Blood Sample

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What is a Blood Glucose Monitor?

Glucose Meters and Glucose Monitors

A Glucose Monitor (also known as a glucose meter) is a machine that helps you test how much glucose (sugar) is in your blood. You take a small sample of blood - usually from the fingertip. The blood sample is then placed on a specially coated strip and inserted in the glucose monitor, which then measures the level of glucose in the blood sample and shows the result on a digital display.

Glucose Monitors Essential for Type 1 Diabetes

Glucose monitors are used mainly by diabetic patients, especially those with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent), as self-monitoring of blood glucose is one of the fundamentals of good diabetes management.

Instructions for Using Glucose Monitors

Here are general instructions for using a glucose meter:

1. Wash hands thoroughly, with soap and warm water and dry completely. Alternatively, clean the finger to be used for the blood sample with alcohol, and dry completely.

2. Prick the fingertip with a lancet.
Hold the hand downwards and lightly squeeze the fingertip until a small drop of blood appears. Catch the blood sample on the test strip.

3. Follow instructions, supplied with the glucose monitor, for inserting the test strip into the machine.

4. Record the blood-glucose test result given the machine.

5. In the event of difficulties testing your blood glucose, you can obtain information about your meter and test strips from a variety of different sources. For example, your glucose meter user manual should include a toll-free helpline. If you can't get a response from this number, contact your diabetes advisor, healthcare provider or a local emergency room for advice.

Learning to Use Your Glucose Meter

As stated above, self-monitoring of blood sugar is a vital part of good diabetic management, so it's important that you know how to use your glucose meter and interpret its results. When starting, you should get training from a diabetes educator. The educator should watch you test your glucose to ensure correct usage and answer any questions.

Taking Care of Your Glucose Monitor

Some glucose meters need regular cleaning. This is usually done with soap and water, and a dampened soft cloth to avoid damage to sensitive parts. Some glucose monitors do not require regular cleaning, although they may provide electronic alerts indicating when they need cleaning. A few glucose meters can be cleaned only by the manufacturer.

Buying a Blood Glucose Monitor

There are lots of self-monitoring glucose meters on the market. So before you buy a particular blood glucose meter, make a list of the features - like, cost, ease of use, accuracy, portability, user-friendly features, that are important to you and your lifestyle. Then talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about your treatment needs and what type of meter is right for you.

Blood Glucose Monitor Price Guide - $25-$90

Glucose meters are getting more sophisticated (and more expensive!). Many now include a range of additional features, such as expanded memory to store blood results, the ability to record insulin dose, as well as computer compatibility to connect with companion software programs that can log data on medication dosages, exercise, food, and more. As a rough price guide, most glucose monitors fall within the range $25-$90.

Note: Blood glucose monitoring and management is a serious process. In case of problems, please contact your doctor and/or diabetes educator.

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