How to Choose the Best Glucose Meter
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes you are certainly in for some major lifestyle changes. From what you eat to how much exercise you get, making diabetes-smart choices plays a big role in how effectively you control blood sugar and manage your disease.
One of the biggest additions to your life will be daily blood sugar testing. Most people recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are recommended by their doctor to use a glucose meter and test strips to test their blood glucose level, and will have to do it multiple times each day.
Most likely, your doctor will provide a recommendation based on your age and individual needs. Still, it’s good to know what to look for in a glucose meter, so you can have a more educated discussion with your doctor. Because while they all do the same thing - measure your blood glucose level at any given time - not all glucose meters are the same.
In this post, we’ll talk about what to consider when choosing a glucose meter and highlight four popular models to show the different possibilities. After all, when you’re new to Type 2 diabetes, things can seem a little overwhelming and confusing. Just know that you will get the hang of it.
What Does a Glucometer Do?
Diabetic people sometimes have difficulty regulating their glucose which is a sugar used by the body for energy. Regularly checking your glucose levels with a glucose meter is essential, as your blood sugar levels can rise or lower based on what you eat or drink. Keeping those levels within the proper target range helps improve your energy and overall mood while preventing or delaying any serious health complications like:
- Eye disease
- Nerve damage
- Gum disease
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease and stroke
- Sexual dysfunction
- Skin conditions
Do you have insurance and is your glucose meter covered?
You might think that the benefits and features of a glucose meter would be the first consideration when choosing one. However, for most people living with diabetes, this simply isn’t the case. When it comes to Type 2 diabetes, insurance can be a tricky thing. Many plans will only cover glucose meters, test strips and lancets (the device used to prick your finger) by certain manufacturers. Others will only cover your costs up to a certain amount. Some insurance plans have large deductibles that must be met before any amount of coverage is provided. In other words, you might end up paying out-of-pocket for medications and supplies for quite some time before you see any sort of discounts.
Remember, you’re going to use test strips multiple times each day. So that cost is not static. You’ll need to replenish them every time you run out. If you can choose a brand covered by your insurance, you just saved a lot of money.
The good news is there are plenty of quality brands on the market. Insurance restrictions might narrow your options a bit, but you will still have plenty of good choices.
Ease of use is another consideration when choosing a glucometer.
You probably already know the basics of glucose meters and test strips. If not, here’s a quick rundown. A small sample of blood, usually drawn from a fingertip, is placed on a test strip coated with chemicals that react with the glucose in your blood to create an electrical current. When placed inside a compatible glucose meter, the device is able to gauge how much blood sugar was required to generate the amount of electrical current that was created. This amount is the number that appears on your glucose meter and just like that you know what your blood sugar is at any given moment. Tada!
While all glucose meters essentially use this same technology, there are some important differences. For example:
- Some test strips require larger blood samples than others, which can mean more painful finger pricks.
- Some glucose meters require calibration with each new box of test strips. It’s a simple process but a lot more effort than glucose meters that don’t require calibration.
- The majority of today’s meters store measurements digitally. Some hold more than others making it easier for your doctor and care team to spot trends in your blood sugar levels.
- Some test strips and lancets simply cost more than others. Since you’ll be using these regularly it can impact your decision.
- Meters have different size displays which can be pros or cons based on age and any vision issues.
- Some glucose meters can even talk to you!
- There are also meters able to give accurate measurements from blood drawn at alternate sites other than the finger. This can be more comfortable in the long run.
Best Glucose Meters
This is a great choice for Type 2 diabetes beginners for a lot of reasons. Most notably, it’s offered as an entire kit that makes it easy to get started on your testing routine. It includes a Contour Next One glucose meter, 10 test strips, 10 lancets, and one lancing device all conveniently put together in a carrying case you’ll surely use down the road. Other advantages include:
– Contour Next One only requires a tiny 0.6 microliter blood sample.
– You get an accurate reading in 5 seconds
– Provides alerts when blood sugar is too high or too low
– Along with a large digital display, the meter includes a “smart light” feature that gives you an instant indicator of blood test results: Green is on target, Amber is above target, Red is below target.
This meter is widely considered to be among the most accurate on the market thanks to a system of 150 integrity checks that help prevent unreliable results.
This device also requires no coding and has another big advantage. The compatible lancing device is proven to be less painful than other brands, and it allows you to test on multiple sites of the body. Other advantages include:
– Quick-fill test strips only require a 0.6 microliter blood sample
– Records up to 500 tests that can be downloaded to a computer
– Provides 7, 14, 30 and 90-day blood sugar averages - a big plus for your care team.
– Features customizable reminders so you never miss a test.
This is a great choice for anyone who is visually impaired - older individuals or anyone who has difficulty reading displays. The Prodigy Autocode can be programmed to automatically speak your test results in either English or Spanish in about 7 seconds. It also allows you to take blood samples from alternate sites, keeping your fingertips a little less stressed. Other advantages include:
– Stores up to 120 test results and gives 7, 14 and 28-day averages
– One-button simplicity for easy navigation
– Requires no coding for maximum ease and reliability.
FreeStyle is one of the leading brands in diabetes care. Their Freestyle Lite meter is ultra-compact and convenient for life on the move. It fits easily into a pocket but still has a large back-lit display, so you won’t be squinting to read your results. It provides an accurate reading in about 5 seconds and can be used on several testing sites in case you want to give your fingers a break. Other advantages include:
– Requires the world’s smallest sample size, 0.3 microliters, so testing is virtually pain-free.
– Stores up to 400 results and provides 7, 14, and 30-day blood glucose averages.
– Alarm reminders help keep you on track with your testing schedule
– No coding required when you open a new box of test strips
Talk with your diabetes physician
The place to start for any of your Type 2 diabetes treatment needs is to talk with your doctor and care team. We hope this post gave you some important information to help guide the conversation. But remember, always consult with your doctor before making any decisions regarding changes or additions to your diabetes management program. Good luck.
At Diabetic Warehouse, we make adhering to your Type 2 diabetes testing and treatment convenient and affordable with a complete selection of diabetic supplies and equipment from leading manufacturers, including FreeStyle, Dexcom, Accu-Chek, True Metrix, OneTouch, Contour Next, BD Ultra-Fine and many others at savings of up to 65%.
Visit us online today and save on glucose meters, test strips, lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles, infusion sets, urinalysis test strips, and all your diabetic accessories. Take advantage of our fast and free delivery on every order. Read reviews from some of our satisfied customers and see what they have to say about us.
Diabetic Warehouse is an online supplier of diabetic items and medical accessories. For more information or to browse a variety of products, including test strips, infusion sets, insulin syringes and pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.