Blood Glucose Meters
- Meters are vital to keeping track of day-to-day blood glucose levels.
- They're accurate, but improper use or faulty materials can cause incorrect readings.
- Many options are available, so consider your needs before buying.
Blood glucose meters are small computerized machines that "read" your blood glucose.
In all types of meters, your blood glucose level shows up as a number on a screen (like that on your pocket calculator). Be sure your doctor or nurse educator shows you the correct way to use your meter.
With all the advances in blood glucose meters, use of a meter is better than visual checking.
How Accurate are They?
Experts testing meters in the lab setting found them accurate. That's the good news.
The bad news: meter mistakes most often come from the person doing the blood checks. For good results you need to do each step correctly.
Here are some other things that can cause your meter to give a poor reading:
- Dirty meter
- Meter or strip that's not at room temperature
- Outdated test strip
- Meter not calibrated (set up for) the current box of test strips
- Blood drop that is too small
Ask your health care team to check your skills at least once a year. Error can creep in over time.
How Do I Choose a Meter?
There are many meters to choose from. Some meters are made for those with poor eyesight. Others come with memory so you can store your results in the meter itself.
The American Diabetes Association does not endorse any products or recommend one meter over another.
If you plan to buy a meter, here are some questions to think about:
- What meter does your doctor or diabetes educator suggest? They may have meters that they use often and know best.
- What will it cost? Some insurance companies will only pay for a certain meter. Call your insurance company before you purchase a meter and ask how to get a meter and supplies. If your insurance company does not pay for blood glucose checking supplies, rebates are often available toward the purchase of your meter. You still have to consider the cost of the matching strips and lancets. Shop around.
- How easy is the meter to use? Methods vary. Some have fewer steps than others.
- How simple is the meter to maintain? Is it easy to clean? How is the meter calibrated (set correctly for the batch of strips you are using)?
For More Information
- Read about the latest advances in blood glucose meters in Diabetes Forecast's "2013 Consumer Guide".
- Post a question on our Diabetes Technology & Equipment message board and get feedback from others.
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