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Best Glucose Monitors: Discover the Best Ways To Monitor Blood Sugar

Best Glucose Monitors: Discover the Best Ways To Monitor Blood Sugar

Apria Editorial |

Several technological advancements have contributed to the improvement of glucose monitors, making them easier, more accurate & less painful to use. In this guide, ApriaHome uncovers the best blood glucose meters for you. Learn about different types of glucometers and what to consider when choosing a diabetic monitor.

The first glucose meter, the Dextrostix, was used in the 1970s, but its accuracy and precision were substandard. Throughout the 1980s, less invasive testing methods were developed, along with cheaper devices and strips that required less blood for testing. In recent years, self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) has evolved into the gold standard of treatment, particularly for those with type 1 diabetes. This development, together with A1C testing and insulin pump treatment, allowed for the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, which provided conclusive evidence of the link between glucose control and diabetes complications.

Daily fluctuations in blood sugar can be caused by several factors, including stress, sickness, and physical activity. While finger poking for glucose monitoring has been a standard in diabetes treatment for quite some time, the constant need to prick one's finger to acquire blood samples can be both uncomfortable and inconvenient.

However, patients should still pay close attention to their readings. The daily frequency for monitoring blood sugar will vary based on your specific diagnoses and the recommended treatment plan. To learn more about diabetes symptoms, causes, and treatments, you can consult our diabetes guide.

Several recent technological advancements have contributed to the improvement of glucose monitors, making them easier, more accurate, and less painful to use. In this guide, we uncover the best blood glucose meters for you. Keep reading and learn about different types of glucometers and what to consider when choosing a diabetic monitor.

What Is The Purpose Of A Blood Sugar / Glucose Monitor?

For those with diabetes, using a glucose meter to check their blood glucose levels is an essential part of managing their condition. It is typically conducted by puncturing the skin (often with a lancet device) to extract blood and then placing it on a reactive chemical disposable test strip.

Most glucose monitoring systems measure an electrical signal to determine the blood glucose level; however, this varies by manufacturer. Healthcare providers advise patients with diabetes on the most effective monitoring routine for them, which may include the use of skin-prick devices to measure the amount of glucose in capillary blood. Type 2 diabetics often require testing multiple times each day.

Insulin-dependant diabetic patients are advised to monitor blood glucose levels more frequently, (4-8 times a day for type 1 diabetics, two or more times a day for type 2 diabetics) to see how well the last insulin dose worked and to determine if dosages need adjustment.

Consult our helpful glucometer guide to learn how to use a blood glucose meter.

What Are The Different Types Of Glucose Monitors?

Glucose monitors are classified into two categories: continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and blood glucose meter (BGM).

1. Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)

Blood glucose (commonly known as blood sugar) levels are monitored continuously, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With a CGM, the blood glucose reading is always visible, allowing patients to monitor patterns and fluctuations over the course of a few hours or days. This guides patients and healthcare professionals to make informed decisions regarding diet, exercise, and insulin dosage.

CGMs are activated by a small sensor implanted beneath the skin, most often in the abdomen or arm. The censor detects the glucose concentration in the fluid between cells and checks glucose levels at regular intervals. The data is sent wirelessly to a receiver or smartphone, where it can be displayed.

Some monitors are built into insulin pumps, while others are portable and can be stored in a pocket or handbag.

Pros & Cons Of Using Continuous Glucose Monitors

Pros:

  • Provides a more precise depiction of glucose fluctuations throughout the day.
  • Helps prevent extremely low and high blood sugar levels.
  • Displays warnings when glucose levels are too low or excessive.
  • Emphasizes the influence of diet, exercise, and other variables on blood sugar.
  • Reports glucose readings to loved ones and medical personnel.
  • Offers the capability to fine-tune insulin dosage using data and direction indicators.
  • With proper integration with an insulin pump, this system can potentially pause or regulate insulin administration in response to fluctuations in glucose levels.
  • Provides various glucose measurements, such as duration in range, duration above/below range, and glycemic variability.
  • Displays glucose levels continuously, including at night, after meals, and at other times the patient may forget to check.
  • Remote data monitoring allows mid-treatment course adjustments.
  • No finger prick methods are required, making it an ideal method for children and elderly patients.
  • Improved glucose management has the potential to reduce diabetes' long-term complications.

Cons:

  • High price tag, which may not be reimbursed by insurance.
  • Meeting the requirements for insurance coverage is often very difficult.
  • Lancet finger poking to obtain glucose levels may be required for calibration.
  • Calibration & complexity of the system for new users should be considered.
  • Alarm fatigue is a phenomenon in which frequent or false alerts constantly irritate device users.
  • Skin sensitivity and irritation.

2. Blood Glucose Meters (BGM)

Blood glucose monitoring (BGM) is a fixed method that offers a precise immediate glucose level but does not provide information about variations in glucose levels over time. CGM, on the other hand, is a dynamic measurement that gives insight into the present value of glucose levels and how they have changed over time.

The conventional finger prick technique is still the most common way of checking glucose levels today. After a blood sample is deposited on the test strip, the portable meter may provide results in as little as 5 seconds. These meters often come with a compact carrying case and can store between 250 and 300 readings, making them convenient for on-the-go monitoring.

Blood glucose meters (BGMs) determine a person's blood sugar level in real-time. Users insert a test strip into the meter, draw blood from a fingertip using a lancet device, then place a drop of blood onto the strip to obtain a reading. A blood glucose measurement is shown in either milligram per deciliter (mg/dl - the US standard) or millimoles per liter (mmol/l European standard).

Pros & Cons Of Using Blood Glucose Meters

Pros:

  • Modern glucometers use strips formulated with specialized chemicals that allow for ultra-sensitive detection of individual blood components.
  • A glucometer accurately assesses your blood sugar level, allowing you to adjust your diet or medication dosages accordingly.
  • Smart glucometers allow you to monitor your glucose levels and insulin dosage and even maintain food and activity records. These logs may be kept in smartphone apps and shared with loved ones and medical professionals.
  • Purchasing a glucometer is a one-time investment, reducing the cost of laboratory testing.

Cons:

  • Diabetic monitors that use the finger prick method become cumbersome and painful over time; it can be especially difficult for children or elderly patients.
  • Different glucose meter brands require different test strips; often physicians can prescribe the wrong test strips, or the patient can make a purchasing error.
  • A package of 100 test strips might cost anything from $50 to $125. Depending on how often a patient has to check their blood sugar, this expense may become a significant barrier to effective diabetic management.

How To Choose A Glucose Monitor?

There is a wide range of blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors on the market, from the basic to the most complex. Insurance policies and other circumstances can affect the final price you pay for a blood glucose meter and test strips. Research all your choices carefully before settling on a particular make and model.

Some of the best blood glucose meters provide a reliable method to take a blood glucose test when used and stored as directed. When picking out a blood glucose meter, it's important to think about the following details:

  • Insurance Coverage: Certain models may be excluded from coverage, or certain policies may limit the total number of test strips.
  • Cost: Prices for meters tend to range widely. Remember to account for the price of test strips, as this will be the primary expense over time.
  • Extra Features: Inquire about the available options to see which best suits your requirements. People with low vision will benefit from additional features like large buttons and test strips, backlit displays, and audio.
  • User-Friendly Operation: In terms of user-friendliness, some meters outperform others. Before making a purchase, verify if it is easy to handle both the meter and the test strips. Can you see the numbers on the display clearly? How straightforward is it to apply blood on the strips?
  • Support: Most meters will come with a customer support helpline that is free of charge. Try to choose a meter with illustrative instructions showing you how to use it properly.
  • Data Archiving & Retrieval: Take into account the meter's information storage and retrieval capabilities. Some can record when a test was performed, its result, and any recurring patterns. Some meters even feature an accompanying app that allows you to send your results directly to your doctor. Alternatively, some glucose monitors will enable you to upload your data and email your doctor the findings.

Top Glucose Monitors

Although finger pricks are still the benchmark for blood glucose monitoring, the latest innovations help make the process more comfortable and provide more convenient options. Inquire with your physician about these options.

What Is The Easiest & Most Accurate Glucose Monitor To Use?

ApriaHome sources and supplies a wide range of diabetic management solutions and the best glucose meters from around the world. The following are our top choices for the easiest blood glucose monitors to use.

1. LifeScan OneTouch® Ultra 2 Blood Glucose Meter

The LifeScan OneTouch® Ultra 2 Blood Glucose Meter measures blood glucose levels in 5 seconds. In addition, the device can store up to 500 results with date and time without requiring any coding.

The Lifescan OneTouch Ultra 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System demonstrates how food affects blood glucose and simplifies diabetes management around meals. An option for highlighting feature notes before and after meals helps determine the relationship between blood glucose levels and food selection. In addition, the two-way scrolling controls and improved backlight make it simple to read and use.

Mealtime management is simplified with the OneTouch Ultra2 Meter and the accompanying educational Simple Start Diabetes+Food DVD and manual,

OneTouch Ultra Test Strips with FastDraw Design are compatible with the OneTouch Ultra2 Meter and are sold separately.

2. Prodigy AutoCode® Talking Blood Glucose Meter

A test strip is effortless to insert into the Prodigy AutoCodestrip ®'s user-friendly port. The device is easy to program and requires no coding. The Prodigy AutoCode® talking glucometer offers text-to-speech translation available in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic to further assist its users. Reporting takes 7 seconds, and the device's memory can store up to 450 test results, offering additional calculations for 7, 14, and 28-day averages. The blood glucose level results from your meter may be downloaded from Prodigy's diabetes management program through the USB port.

Which Are The Most Painless Lancets/Lancing Devices To Use?

The following lancet devices feature an ergonomic design for comfortable handling and high puncture speed for reduced pain and quicker healing when fingertip sampling with glucose meters.

For more guidance on lancets and lancing devices, you can consult our helpful lancet guide.

What Are The Most Painless Glucose Meters To Use?

Continuous glucose monitoring devices feature a small film that is inserted painlessly under the skin on the upper arm or abdomen. This method does not require ongoing finger poking to obtain blood samples and is, therefore, the most painless and hassle-free way to monitor blood sugar. Here are our top picks for the best wearable glucose monitor and most painless blood glucose monitors.

1. FreeStyle Libre Continuous Glucose Monitoring System

The FreeStyle Libre 14-day system offers continuous glucose monitoring compatible with a smartphone app or portable reader. The easy-to-apply glucose sensor is placed behind the upper arm and features a 14-day battery life.

The Freestyle Libre offers people with diabetes mellitus (aged 4 and above) a painless and user-friendly way to monitor interstitial fluid glucose levels. The sensor takes readings of glucose levels once every minute using a small, flexible filament implanted just beneath the skin.

The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System provides reliable glucose readings at all hours of the day and night, allowing for accurate insulin administration. Simple to use to test blood glucose levels and comfortable to carry, the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System is an excellent CGM option for newly diagnosed patients.

1. The Eversense® E3 Continuous Glucose Monitoring System

Patients aged 18 years and older with diabetes can use the Eversense® E3 CGM System to track their blood sugar levels every few minutes for up to 180 days.

This system is ideal for patients who want to make optimized treatment choices based on their blood glucose levels without using a fingerstick. A healthcare practitioner performs the sensor insertion and removal operations.

Because the Eversense E3 CGM System is a prescription-only device, patients should consult with their physician to learn more.

Blood Glucose Monitoring Made Simple With ApriaHome

ApriaHome is a market leader in home medical equipment and clinical support services. We provide durable and home medical equipment (DME and HME) to over 2 million patients annually. We distinguish ourselves with our excellent clinical standards and attentive patient care. We strive to surpass the expectations of those we serve daily, whether it be patients, families, or physicians. We pride ourselves on being one of the nation's biggest home healthcare service providers, adding value to the lives of those we assist.

We source and supply a wide range of diabetes management and treatment solutions, including glucose meters, lancets, and glucose test strips, all from the convenience of our online portal. We understand that a new diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming for some, but with proper diabetic awareness, education, and lifestyle adaptations, you can make the most out of every day. Looking for something specific? Our helpful agents are on call at (800) 780-1508 between 8:00 am - 10:00 pm EST daily. Get in touch today.

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