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An Expert Guide On How To Correctly Use A Glucometer

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Glucometers are hand-held blood glucose monitoring devices, which are used by people with diabetes to self-monitor their blood sugar levels. It is an easy way to track blood glucose levels in between doctor appointments and know how your lifestyle is affecting it. We spoke to Dr. V. Mohan, Chairman – Dr. Mohan Diabetes Specialties Centres, Chennai, about the importance, best ways to use a glucometer and the best ones available in the market.

Why every diabetic should own a glucometer

Glucometers are indeed an essential tool that every person with diabetes should own. It can be a life-saving device in extreme cases. Very high or very low blood sugar levels can lead to disastrous complications. Hence, frequently checking it is essential for proper diabetes management.

People with diabetes generally do not experience any particular symptoms until they experience hyperglycemia (when their glucose level is too high) or hypoglycemia (when their glucose level is too low). It is in such cases that self-testing with glucometers can reduce the risks while helping you take better charge of your diabetes.

New-age glucometers are wireless, give you real-time blood sugar level updates and can sync to your laptop or smartwatch. Syncing your glucometer to your laptop/smartwatch is a great way to keep track of your weekly and monthly glucose trends through colourful graphs and pictures. They give you a complete picture of your health and allow you to make suitable changes to it as and when needed.

Tips for buying the perfect glucometer:

  • It should have a display that is easy to read. Avoid ones that are incredibly high-tech and complicated to use.
  • Opt for ones that have a backlight option. This feature is helpful when you are trying to check your readings at night. Go for ones with the “voice-readout feature” if you have vision problems – it will read your results loudly.
  • A glucometer with an attached disk or strip drum is easier to handle.
  • Avoid ones where you have to enter a code or a unique key every time you change the test strip. This added step can be a hassle, especially in times of emergencies.
  • Check how the glucometer stores your results and how easily you can download them when needed. Ones that allow you to download and mail it to your doctor automatically are more convenient.

How many times should a diabetic use a glucometer?

This entirely depends on the type of diabetes. Blood sugar levels fluctuate more often in Type 1 diabetics than in Type 2 diabetics and hence they need to check it more frequently. Patients with type 1 diabetes usually test up to 3 or 4 times a day to adjust their insulin doses. Depending on the severity of their case, patients with Type 2 diabetes may check it once or twice in a day or even as infrequently as once or twice a week.

Using a glucometer gives you different information based on what time of the day you take the test. For example:

  • fasting blood sugar will tell you whether the night dose of medicines is OK
  • testing after breakfast or after lunch will tell you whether the morning doses are adequate.

Based on this, your doctor can adjust your medicine. Read our guide to how often diabetics should check their blood sugar levels to keep it under control. Things you might be doing wrong while using your glucometer: A major problem with using glucometers is that some patients tend to get paranoid and test their blood sugar levels more often than recommended. This unnecessarily worries them about the levels being too low or too high. Make it a point to always stick to the timeline your doctor suggests or the one we have recommended above.

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