Regular blood sugar monitoring is the most important thing you can do to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes. You’ll be able to see what makes your numbers go up or down, such as eating different foods, taking your medicine, or being physically active.
With this information, you can work with your health care team to make decisions about your best diabetes care plan. These decisions can help delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation. Your doctor will tell you when and how often to check your blood sugar levels.
Most blood sugar meters allow you to save your results and you can use an app on your cell phone to track your levels. If you don’t have a smartphone, keep a written daily record. You should bring your meter, phone, or paper record with you each time you visit your healthcare provider.
Choosing the Right Blood Glucose Meter
When selecting a blood glucose meter, it can help to know the basics of how they work. There are lots of blood glucose meter options so you can find what works best for you.
When used and stored properly, blood glucose meters are generally accurate in how they measure glucose. They differ in the type and number of features they offer. Here are several factors to consider when choosing a blood glucose meter:
- Insurance coverage. Check with your insurance provider or Medicare for coverage details. Some insurance providers limit coverage to specific models or limit the total number of test strips allowed.
- Cost. Meters vary in price. Be sure to factor in the cost of the test strips, as these will represent the majority of the cost in the long term.
- Ease of use. Some meters are easier to use than others. Are both the meter and test strips comfortable and easy to hold? Can you easily see the numbers on the screen? How easy is it to get blood onto the strips? How much blood is required?
- Special features. Ask about the features to see what meets your specific needs. Special features may include large, easy-to-handle buttons and test strips, illuminated screens, and audio, which may be useful for people with impaired vision.
- Information storage and retrieval. Consider how the meter stores and retrieves information. Some can track time and date of a test, the result, and trends over time. Some meters offer the ability to share your readings in real time with your healthcare provider with a smartphone app. Or some may offer the option to download your blood glucose readings to a computer, then email the test results to your doctor.
- Support. Most meter manufacturers include a toll-free number that you can call for help. Look for a meter that includes clear instructions that demonstrate the correct way to use the meter. Some manufacturers offer users manuals on their websites.
Daily blood sugar testing is a vital component of any successful diabetes management plan. Luckily, a wide variety of glucometers exist on the market today to help you keep your blood sugar levels in range.
If you need a little extra help in selecting the right blood glucose meter for you, we can help. If you are at risk of prediabetes, you’ll want to make some healthy changes. Consider joining the Fit & Well, MD Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).