The Essentials to Blood Glucose Monitoring
Blood glucose monitoring is the first step to effective blood glucose control. An irregular blood glucose monitoring is a major contributor to ineffective blood glucose control. It need not be complicated or hard to follow but it requires dedication and the determination to do it regularly. Here are the essential things you need to have when monitoring blood glucose on your own.
First, you need to choose a glucose meter. A glucose meter is an electronic, portable medical device that measures blood glucose. Your choice of glucose meters depends on your needs and the doctors’ recommendation. There are glucose meters suited to every diabetic’s need such as talking glucose meters for the visually impaired, continuous glucose meters for those wanting real-time, minute by minute blood glucose readings and a combination glucose meters that also provide other readings such as heart rate or blood pressure. Glucose meters also vary according to price, connectivity to insulin pumps and insurance coverage.
Each traditional glucose meter comes with recommended glucose test strips. These are strips that react to glucose in the blood sample and are inserted into the meter for reading. For continuous glucose monitors, reading is done via glucose sensors inserted under the skin. Continuous glucose monitors measure glucose of interstitial fluids surrounding the cells while traditional glucose meters measure blood glucose.
To draw blood sample, you will need a tiny knife-like instrument called a lancet. A lancet is a double-edged blade that is inserted into the finger for pricking and drawing blood. A lancet can be used alone or it may be loaded into a lancing device. A lancing device is a pen-like instrument that releases the lancet into the skin with a single click. Lancing devices are used to lessen the pain of finger-pricking.
Prior to pricking, the finger is first swabbed with cotton soaked in alcohol or antiseptic solution. You can prepare cotton swabs on your own or you can buy these swabs from pharmacies.
Glucose meters also come with glucose control solutions. These solutions contain glucose in specified levels. They are used to test if the glucose meter is working properly.
Other things that you will need are storage for used lancets and swabs. Lancets and swabs may be classified as biological waste depending on your location and may require different disposal methods compared to regular wastes. Usually lancets are required to be disposed in tamper-proof steel containers that are resistant to piercing. Bear in mind that lancets are very sharp and can cause injury.
Keeping a steady supply of consumables like swabs, lancets and test strips is essential to regular blood glucose monitoring. Take note that your glucose meter manufacturer may require glucose test strips that are compatible only with their meter.