by Kyle Framsburger
The glucometer is a medical device whose purpose is to ascertain the blood sugar concentration of a person. It may also be called a glucose meter. The tool is a necessity for people with type one and type two diabetes or hypoglycemia. These people are required to keep track of their blood glucose levels at home several times in a day and adhere to normal levels as far as they can.
Patients prick some blood from their fingers and then place it on a disposable test strip in order to approximate their blood glucose level. The smeared strip is then placed into the meter which then approximates the glucose concentration in the sample. The results are shown in milligrams per deciliter or mg/dl, or in millimoles/liter or mmol/l.
This procedure is costly especially for those with type 1 diabetes because these people have to do the test four to ten times each day. The high cost is due to the fact that each test strip can only be used once so a person ends up spending a few dollars every day. Some manufacturers of these devices even give out the device for free because the test strip is so expensive. However, there are some meters that have discs instead of strips, and these discs can be used more than once.
In choosing glucometer models, there are some factors that need to be taken into consideration. Physical characteristics of glucose meters include size, display, and clock or memory. These meters are on average the size of the hand, such that some can be larger or smaller.
Different meters also give the result in different units of measure. Meters issued in the U. S., France, Japan, Israel, and India typically give the reading in milligrams per deciliter. On the other hand those issued in Canada, Australia, China and the UK give the reading in millimoles per liter. To convert between the two units of measurement, simply multiply millimoles per liter by 18 or divide milligrams per deciliter by 18. At present, only hospitals and doctors in Germany routinely work in both units of measurement.
Another feature that varies from model to model is the clock or memory. This feature displays the current date and time. It also stores recent readings up to a certain point. Of course more powerful models can store more past results. This makes it easier for diabetes patients to monitor the trends and patterns in their blood glucose levels.
Since these machines are generally used to keep track of medical conditions, their accuracy is a very important factor. Based on the International Organization for Standardization rules, glucometers must give results that are accurate to within twenty percent of lab standard 95 percent of the time. To reach such accuracy levels, the ideal machine must not be vulnerable to factors like temperature and humidity, amount and quality of the blood sample, and the presence of other things in the blood.
In the future, it may be possible to have a noninvasive glucometer that will allow glucose level monitoring continuously. For now, consumers will have to make do with devices that test their blood samples. In choosing blood glucose meters, people need to check out how expensive the test strips or discs are, its memory strength, size, and accuracy.
Did you know that a glucometer is used to measure the concentration of sugar in the bloodstream? All you need to know about this incredible medical device now in our online overview of the best glucometers on the market.