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What are the Different Types of Blood Glucose Monitors?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated Feb 29, 2024
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Anyone who suffers from diabetes understands the importance of reliable blood glucose monitors. However, they vary in design, size, cost, and ease of use, as is also true of many other types of diabetic supplies or medical equipment. Choosing a glucose meter is a matter of preference based on the patient’s personal needs, but key elements of the meter’s design and usage can help you make a decision.

Most of today’s blood glucose meters are relatively easy to use. They tend to be very portable as most are battery operated. Some are more compact or lightweight than others, making them ideal for people who travel or are very active.

Certain designs are made especially for those with vision impairments. Blood glucose monitors are available with larger than average test result displays or in designs that give audio instructions as well as verbal readouts. Audio monitors are also available in different languages.

Some blood glucose monitors require less blood to perform accurate testing and therefore testing may be less painful. However, it is important to check with your healthcare provider for recommendations, as reporting to your doctor will be simpler with a meter with which he or she is familiar.

Speaking of reporting your readings to your doctor, there are blood glucose monitors that keep a log of test results making it simpler to keep track of your readings. While it is recommended that you also keep a paper log of blood sugar readings, some designs allow you to upload the log information to your computer. You can then simply print out the results before heading to your doctor’s appointment.

The most common method of testing with blood glucose monitors is sticking the finger, depositing blood on strip, and inserting the strip into the meter. There are also catheter designs. Rather than sticking a finger, a tiny tube is inserted right under the skin for continuous blood glucose monitoring. There is also a watch style, worn like a wristwatch. This type does not actually break the skin but pulls out fluids, recording the amount of glucose in the fluid.

Like anything else there are expensive as well as affordable blood glucose monitors. However, in many cases, there are rebates available or options to receive a free monitor, in order to get your repeat business when purchasing test strips. Keep in mind that some strips are not as readily available as others. Make sure you have access to the appropriate type as most cannot be used with other devices, frequently even if another device is the same brand.

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