Diabetes and Glucometers

I’ve made some good friends in this life but being a type-1  diabetic my closest  and most trusted friend  is by far my  GLUCOMETER – the machine that gives me an accurate reading of what my current blood sugar level is.   If any of my friends are reading this please don’t get mad  at me – what I meant to say   is closest  and most trusted ELECTRONIC FRIEND!   It is always by my side (in my pouch)  and has saved my life and helped me to survive too many times to count.    I depend on this machine  so much that I even went out and bought 2 .   I test my blood sugar somewhere between 5 to 10 times a day and this little piece of machinery is probably the best thing that has come along for diabetics since insulin was invented.   Maybe  some or most diabetics can get along by testing  less than I do but that doesn’t change the fact that every diabetic MUST have at least 1 working glucometer if he wants to sleep well at night.

There are lots  of different models of glucometers on the market (I own a freestyle and accuchek glucometer) so I’m not going to tell anybody which one to go out and buy.   What’s important in a glucometer you ask  Here’s a list of things you might want to check out …

  • 1.  Accuracy of course is super important.  Getting a crappy glucometer that gives you all sorts of crazy results is not what you’re looking for.  Check the reviews or ask your diabetes specialist what he suggests…
  • 2.  Some glucometers require less blood to be put on the test strips and still gives accurate results .  This is a nice feature since you’ll land up pricking your finger less.  By the way — there are other places to take blood from aside from your fingers – like your palm, arm etc…  Taking blood has actually never been a problem for me — or maybe I’ve just gotten used to being a pin cushion…
  • 3.  I  like the glucometer to be  small and light because I’m carrying it around all the time
  • 4. It’s also important that the display is clear and easily readable.
  • 5.  A night or backlight to see the display in the dark or poor lighting  conditions is important.  I sometimes find myself testing my blood in all sorts of places and times where the lighting is poor.  It’s also nice to have a glucometer which shines some light on your test strip so you can  see where to place the blood  in poor light conditions.
  • 6.  Most glucometers have a nice memory size today which  holds a large number of test results which you can look back on.    It is a  good idea  to check exactly what your glucometer gives you and if it suits your needs.  Some glucometers have interfaces to download your results to your PC and some also supply programs that give you all sorts of statistics and charts concerning your blood sugar results. Nice stuff for the high-tech diabetics out there.

I’ve probably forgotten some stuff – but the above is at least  some of the important stuff you might look for when you’re buying  a new glucometer.

One of th questions some of you might be thinking is why in the world do I need 2 glucometers and why 2 different brands or models… Good questions!!  First off —  I just can’t take the chance of one of these machines dying on me or going into a diabetic coma before I do.  I need a working glucometer at all times and won’t take the chance of being without one for any extended period of time.  The price of a glucometer these days is pretty cheap and it’s well worth the expense to have another one handy — just in case!   Even if the glucometer doesn’t totally  croak on you there’s always the chance the batteries will need to be replaced one day  and of course Murphy will make sure the shop with the batteries  down the block  will  be  closed and of course the next one you go to  will be out of those type  batteries …  We all know that Murphy is always out there watching us…   And of course your glucometer will go on the blink just when you think you took the wrong injection and are in a panic etc,etc..  Not funny — but when things go wrong they usually  seem to go wrong BIGTIME.. 

So why 2 different brands of glucometers?   Another good question!   It doesn’t happen often but occasionally I get crazy or illogical results from one of my glucometers like lets say my blood sugar shows a reading of 40 or maybe 400 and I’m feeling fine (well at least I was feeling fine up until I tested!!).  So what I usually do is take out my other machine  and test again.  Chances are pretty good that if both machines agree with each other then they apparently know what they are talking about.   If you do have to perform the same test twice then I think  using the same finger or area where the first test was done is a good idea — to  keep the test honest…    Don’t forget however that if you didn’t clean the area where you’re taking the blood from you might get some weird results!!  Washing your hands before taking a blood test  from your fingers is always a good idea.   Even if you get the same results twice make 100% sure that the area you are performing the test from is clean.  If the area is smeared with honey or ice-cream I’m not sure you can trust those results too much!!   If the two blood sugar tests do differ greatly  just make sure you test again before doing something you might regret — like taking another injection of fast acting lispro insulin.   Fortunately this sort of situation does not happen very often!!  It always is better being safe than sorry when it comes to taking additional  injections of insulin.

One not so obvious reason for having 2 different machines is that you never can know when a certain type of test strips might run out or not be available in your pharmacy or wherever you get your supplies- and having another machine using different types of strips  can be really helpful.     In short — I’ve found that having 2 different  glucometers   has it’s advantages and  it works for me.     Main thing however is you have at least 1 working glucometer that can be trusted!!   And don’t forget to treat HER or HIM well…..

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About

I'm a type-1 diabetic which has changed my life for what I hope is the better. My profession - at least what I get paid to do is computers (sysadmin). I'm a life long sports enthusiast and try to practise what I preach when it comes to being physically active. Still trying to achieve better diabetic control by juggling my diet, exercise and injections... As for things that interest me aside from sport -- I like keeping up on biotech research & medical devices and listening to country and western music.

Posted in diabetes control, glucometer

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