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What Is a Glucometer?

A blood lancet is often used for blood testing with a glucometer.
A glucometer allows a patient to test blood sugar levels anytime.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2014
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A glucometer is a portable tool a person can use to measure and monitor his blood sugar, or glucose, levels. Glucometers are used by diabetes patients, as they allow them to keep track of their blood sugar levels at home or from any other location. A glucometer provides results right away, letting the diabetes patient know whether his glucose level is higher than desired, lower than expected, or within an acceptable range of levels. It can help a patient decide when to take steps his doctor has recommended for controlling his blood sugar. It can also help him to give his doctor important information about the efficiency of his current treatment.

There are different types of glucometers, but they all perform the same job. A glucometer is often sold in a kit that contains everything the patient needs to measure his blood sugar. Typically, these kits contain lancets, which are tiny needles used to prick the patient’s skin and produce a drop of blood. The kits also contain special test strips for use in testing blood and measuring its glucose level.

Most glucometers require patients to prick their fingers in order to get a reading. Pricking the fingers may sting or hurt, however, as this area can be very sensitive. Some glucometers allow the patient to prick another part of the body, such as his arm, instead.

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To use a glucometer, a person may start by turning the device on and inserting a test strip. He may then wash his hands and use an alcohol pad to clean the area he will prick with a lancet. If he’s planning to prick a finger, he may first rub his hands together to stimulate his circulation. He’ll then use the lancet to prick his fingertip, drawing a drop of blood, and placing it on the strip. The glucometer will calculate the patient’s blood sugar level fairly quickly and display the results digitally.

A patient’s doctor may recommend a particular type of glucometer, but these devices are usually available at drug and grocery stores without a prescription. Diabetes patients can purchase replacement lancets and test strips when the original kit runs out. A patient may need to write his blood sugar readings down and save them to discuss with his doctor, or he may use them in following his doctor’s recommended treatment plan. His doctor may expect him to respond in a variety of ways, depending on the level he sees on his glucometer.

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vogueknit17
Post 2

Blood tests scare me. I've had to get those finger pricks when I donate blood a few times a year, and that's bad enough; I can't imagine testing my blood every single day, even if I had whatever was considered the best glucometer,and it was less painful that most. I really hope that researchers can find a cure for diabetes one of these days.

hyrax53
Post 1

When I was in middle school, the insulin pumps that are hooked into people long term, and can give insulin whenever it's needed, were still pretty rare and expensive. I remember one girl I knew thought my friend's pump was a pager.

When I corrected her, she was pretty embarrassed. But even the girl with the "pager" had to test her blood with the same type of diabetes glucometer that everyone else with diabetes used, though I don't think she had to as often. I don't suppose there will ever be huge advancements in blood testing that are easy for people to use every day.

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