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Self-testing of blood glucose with a blood glucose meter is one of the central elements of caring for yourself if you have diabetes. Results from many studies indicate that people with diabetes should be more aggressive in their daily monitoring of blood glucose levels if they want to reduce their risk of diabetes complications. This means not only more frequent blood glucose testing, but also adjusting your diet, exercise and doses of insulin or oral medications according to the results of your tests.
Using a glucose meter may seem complicated, but with practice you'll soon be doing it quickly, easily and with minimal pain. Glucose meters require only a small drop of blood, which is typically obtained by pricking your finger with a sharp lancet. After the finger stick, you place a drop of blood on a small test strip, insert the strip into your meter (some meters have the strip already on the meter), and within seconds a digital readout of the result appears on the screen.
Choosing a blood glucose meter. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator to recommend a glucose meter that suits your needs. Many new glucose meters offer multistrip cartridges, large display screens, ultrashort test times (as little as five seconds) and other convenient features. Most glucose meters display the results digitally, although audio meters (which read the results aloud) are available for those with vision problems.
How often to self-test. People with diabetes are encouraged to check their blood glucose levels frequently. Recommendations for home monitoring vary from once a day or less in individuals with well-controlled type 2 diabetes, to multiple times daily in people with type 1 diabetes. Most health insurance companies understand this and offer programs that provide reimbursement for certain glucose meters plus sufficient free testing supplies.
Keep in mind. Prices for most glucose meters range from $30 to $120; however, many manufacturers provide rebates and special offers because the biggest expense over time is the test strips. Manufacturers often offer a free meter and replacement meters so that you will keep purchasing their brand of test strips./.../