Regular monitoring of glucose levels in the blood has become essential for pre-diabetic and diabetic people. What if you had a device at home that helps in checking your blood sugar levels without the need of visiting the lab or clinic regularly.
Glucometer is a glucose monitoring device that you can use at home without seeking the help of a professional. Although most people are aware of this efficient machine, they do not know how it works.
If you are a diabetic or have diabetic patients at home, you need to be equipped with the working mechanism of this influential instrument.
In this article, we will learn everything about the glucometer. We will see how it works and how it helps in monitoring blood sugar levels.
By the end of this discussion, you will acknowledge that a glucometer is the safest way to test the glucose levels of your dear ones.
Let us get started with our discussion. Before that, let us understand what a glucometer is.
What Is A Glucometer?
A glucometer, also called a glucose monitor, is an electric instrument that runs on a battery. This Instrument is extremely handy, and you can use it anywhere and anytime.
A glucose monitor features a display on it and some space where you need to keep your test strip. You can use this glucometer to measure the blood glucose value in your body.
If you see, people with Type 1 diabetes (insulin deficiency) have been utilizing this instrument, over the years. However, even people with Type 2 diabetes, i.e., non-insulin deficiency diabetic patients are also using this device, lately.
The first type of problem when left untreated, can lead to severe issues. Nevertheless, if you are a diabetic person, it is essential to keep a track of your blood glucose value within the limit.
To maintain your blood glucose level, you need to keep testing your blood glucose level at regular intervals. That is why a glucose monitor plays a crucial role in your life.
Let us learn about the various benefits of using a glucometer below.
What Are The Uses Of Glucometer?
While expressing our views on what is a glucometer and why it is crucial, here are a few of its essential instances. To make this subject simpler, relate to our instances for better comprehension.
- Let us say you are a diabetic who consumes insulin daily. Accidently, you get with your heartbeats thumping, excess sweating, and extreme weakness. You are just not sure if your blood glucose level is low or high. If it is low you need some chocolates. But if it is high, you need to take an extra dose of insulin.
- Your loved one has diabetes, or they are on strict bed rest.
- You have been recommended by your doctor to keep a track of your postprandial as well as fasting for fourteen days straight. But it is not possible as you live in a locality where medical labs are unavailable.
- Your wife or sister is gestational diabetic and pregnant as well.
- These are some instances where having a glucometer can be a life saviour for you and your loved ones.
How Does A Glucometer Work?
To know about the functioning of a glucometer, a bit of chemistry knowledge is needed. However, we will try to simplify it for you in English.
A glucose meter works by analyzing a little amount of blood taken from the fingertips. Where a lancet slightly pricks your fingertip to take samples.
Glucose oxidase is an element enzyme that oxidizes glucose, and this one is the main component in glucose monitor test strips. When this component counters with glucose present in our blood droplets, you can notice an electrical signal on the electrode interface.
The power of this electric signal is equal to the level of glucose present in the blood samples. It means the greater the level of electric signal greater the level of glucose is calibrated. Thus, a glucometer shows you the strength of these signals.
The glucometers in the past made use of glucose dehydrogenase enzymes. This element was even more susceptible than glucose oxide stripes.
What Are The Factors that Affect The Accuracy?
Before you get yourself or your loved ones tested, here are some of the factors you need to keep in mind for accurate results.
- Using Damaged or Outdated Strips: When you use damaged or outdated strips, it may not give you the correct results. It is better to throw them away and not use them.
- Extreme Temperatures: When you do not store the glucometer and test strips at room temperature, you may get incorrect readings.
- Unclean or Wet Hands: When your hands are wet or not clean before pricking the finger, it might affect the results.
- Improper Coding of the Meters: You will not get accurate results when the device code number does not match with the code number on your test strip container.
- Not Inserting the Test Strips Properly: When you do not insert the test strips properly, you will not get the correct readings on the device.
- Inadequate Amount of Blood Applied to the Strip: When the strip does not have enough amount of blood applied to it, you will not get the appropriate results.
- Less Count of Red Blood Cells: When the count of red blood cells in your blood is low, you may not get accurate results.
What Are The Risks Of Blood Glucose Monitoring?
There are extremely lower-level risks involved with blood glucose testing. Comparatively, they are lesser than not checking your blood sugar at regular intervals.
If you are sharing your testing equipment or needles with anyone, you are prone to extreme risk of dissipating diseases like:
- Hepatitis B and C
Therefore, we request you to not share your finger stick equipment or needles no matter what the reason is.
What Are The Common Problems Faced with Glucometer?
Like we mentioned earlier, testing sugar at home is not complicated. A glucometer plays a major role and can be a bit challenging too. Here, we will be discussing the most usual issues one faces with a glucometer.
1. Damaged or Used Test Strip:
Every time you or your family members are taking a test, please use a fresh test strip. Do not reuse the used one.
2. Expired Test Strips:
While repeating the tests, use a fresh test strip. To minimize the chances of hazardous results, check the date of the test strips vial. Do not use the aged test strips.
3. Inappropriately Kept Test Strip:
Once the test strip is in the meter, do not remove it or switch its position.
4. Contaminated Sample Part:
Please ensure to clean and dry the part where the sample is to be taken from before sampling or lancing.
5. Incomplete Insertion of the Test Strip:
Make sure to verify whether the test strip is completely inserted or not.
6. Blood Sufficiency for the Test:
While taking a test, ensure that you’ve taken an adequate amount of blood that is required for the test. So, follow the instructions given and repeat the test with a fresh test strip.
7. The Temperature of the Test Strip or Solution Higher or Lower than it is Required:
Please ensure that the test strips solution is kept at a proper temperature, as requested by the producer.
8. Battery Low:
There are chances of the battery being low, and you do not often acknowledge it. We advise you to change the batteries before you take a test.
9. Pressing your Fingertips too Harsh because of No Adequate Amount of Blood is Collected:
Putting a lot of pressure on your finger for the blood samples might give you the wrong results. So, repeat the test and make sure not to squeeze your finger.
10. Alternative parts apart from your fingertips:
Using an alternative site for tests might not help you with the required results.
Some frequently Asked Questions:
Ans: 140 milligrams can be considered as a normal blood sugar level. The scale between one forty and one ninety-nine mg reveals a pre-diabetic condition. The scale between two hundred and above is deemed as diabetes.
Ans: When you use a glucometer in the right manner, you will get accurate results. But, if you are not doing it regularly, but once in a blue moon, there are chances to get incorrect readings.
Ans: If the results are 20% of what has been given through lab tests, then yes, they are right. For instance, let us say that the result shows 80 mg or 120 mg on your glucose monitor, and your lab results say 100 mg. In such a case, you can consider them to be accurate.
Ans: There are three types of glucometers – Invasive, Continuous, and Non-invasive.
Ans: Usually, they last up to 10 years. However, it is advisable to test their performance from time to time if you want to ensure accurate results.
I hope this article explained the functionality and working mechanism of a glucometer. With the information provided, you should now be aware of the benefits. Also, follow the instructions properly when using the device to ensure accurate readings. Do not forget the points mentioned in this write-up and keep it noted while conducting a test of your or your loved ones for safety and hygiene. Please share this information with your friends and let them know about the working and advantages of a glucometer.
Write to us if you have any questions or need more information on glucometer functionality. We will try our best to answer all your queries at the earliest. If required, we will come up with a new article with relevant info on glucose meters.
Please feel free to share your feedback with us by posting your inputs in the comments section below. Do not hesitate to share your suggestions and let us know if we missed out on any points. We would love to hear and learn from you.
Stay healthy and stay safe!!!