What Is A Smartphone Blood Glucose Meter Anyways
These devices convert your smartphone into an on-the-go glucose meter. Its a fantastic innovation that makes blood glucose monitoring more accessible and more compact than ever. There are two different types: one is compatible with an app on your phone and one that plugs into your phone, turning it into a glucose meter device by displaying the results and data on the screen.
Those who require continuous glucose monitoring can now limit the number of things they need to carry with them throughout the day. Since most people carry a smartphone with them all day anyway, it was a no-brainer to incorporate smartphones into the CGM process.
Back in the day, people with diabetes would need to have their glucose monitoring kit with them at all times, where they would manually prick their finger with their large lancet device, plug it into the glucose meter, and wait to get their results. They would then have to manually record those results and take the appropriate action necessary.
In that same vein , older continuous glucose monitoring systems methods meant people would have their CGM data sensor stuck into their belly, next to their battery-powered glucose meter pack attached to their waistband. This method was cumbersome and annoying as it was such a bulky thing youd have to wear every day.
Who Are They Useful For
CGMs can help people with diabetes monitor and maintain their blood glucose levels. While they do not involve finger pricking, they may be useful for calibrating the device.
Earlobe, breath, and other noninvasive devices may be beneficial for monitoring blood glucose levels, especially in children with the same condition and those who have cystic fibrosis. However, they are not FDA-approved, and some may need further testing to determine their safety and accuracy.
To learn more about diabetes and how to monitor and manage the condition, visit our dedicated hub.
MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria:
- Budget: MNT chooses products that suit a wide range of budgets.
- FDA approval: MNT chooses products that have been cleared or approved by the FDA.
- Smartphone compatibility:MNT selects products that are easily connected to smart devices and provide regular readings via an app.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Below are four blood sugar monitors that do not require finger pricks.
Top 5 Blood Glucose Meters
1. Best user-friendly: Care Touch Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit
Care Touch blood glucose monitoring system is easy to use and affordable. Some highlights of this glucose meter include:
- Readings available in less than 5 seconds
- Provides 14-day readings on average
- Can store up to 300 readings at a time
2. Best continuous: FreeStyle Libre
FreeStyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitor that uses your interstitial fluid to measure blood sugar levels. The device works via a sensor that has a thin needle that you put over your upper arm. It uses a flash system, which means you can scan the sensor with your smartphone to get your glucose reading. You can repeat the process as often as you like. Though there may be a little discrepancy in readings between FreeStyle and glucometer, the tool is helpful for those who have labile diabetes, are afraid of skin pricks, or need to regularly titrate insulin.
3. Best data management: Dario blood Glucose Monitoring Kit
This is an iPhone-compatible device that is excellent for getting advanced data analysis. You can measure your carbs and monitor your physical activities and share the results with your physician for further updates. It comes in an all-in-one kit.
4. Best budget-friendly option: TrueMetrix Meter
The TrueMetrix meter is the best budget-friendly option. It has additional features, such as four sets of reminders, and can store 500 test results on the device.
5. Best overall: Contour Next
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Best Smartphone Compatibility: Dexcom G6 Cgm System
- Price: $1,099.99
The Dexcom G6 CGM System provides automatic updates to a connected smart device or app. People with Medicare may need to purchase the connected device monitor, but they can also use their phone or tablet. The app notifies the user if their glucose levels are low or high.
The device comes with transmitters and three sensors that last 90 days and 10 days, respectively, so people need to purchase new components regularly.
The Dexcom G6 CGM System is available at various pharmacies across the United States and in online stores.
What Is Considered Accurate For A Blood Glucose Monitor
First of all, it is important to understand that in Canada, blood glucose monitors are licensed medical devices that are reviewed and approved by Health Canada. This means that before a blood glucose monitor can be used in Canada, the monitor and test strips must go through a rigorous review by Health Canada to ensure that they meet a number of requirements.
When looking at accuracy of blood glucose monitors, the most important information a company must provide is a consensus error grid. What does that mean? Basically, the blood glucose result from the monitor is compared with a sample taken from the blood that is analyzed immediately at a lab. The values should be as close as possible and must be within a 15% range. If the blood glucose meter result is 15% higher or 15% lower than the blood sample, it is considered accurate. Obviously, the higher the number the bigger the difference could be. For example, if your glucose reading was 10 mmol/L, then the meter would be accurate if it was 8.5 to 11.5 mmol/L. However, when blood glucose is lower, the difference would be less. If your blood glucose reading was 4 mmol/L, then the monitor would be accurate if the result was between 3.4 and 4.6 mmol/L. This is the accuracy that all blood glucose monitors must demonstrate, in keeping with the International Organization for Standardization, an international body that promotes worldwide standards for a number of devices, products and materials.
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Agamatrix Jazz Wireless 2
It graphs your readings over time so you can see trends in your health and make appropriate changes. It also lets you share your data with your physician and has an inbox for communication purposes. The AgaMatrix Jazz Wireless 2 is among the best glucometers on the market because it is accurate and easy to sync to its companion diabetes manager app. From Top Ten Reviews.
The Jazz Wireless 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System uses advanced technology called WaveSense to deliver very reliable readings with 99% accuracy. What many users will find nice about this meter is that theyll have the ability to capture, analyze, and share their glucose results easily through a Bluetooth wireless connection. With AgaMatrix Jazz 2, users can record glucose, carb, insulin, and weight data in one place to help visualize trends.
Overall, the meter is very easy to set up. With results in as quick as five seconds after using, the AgaMatrix Jazz Wireless 2 also automatically syncs all the results to the app.
A slim meter design makes for discreet testing and the meter includes an LED display. The meter is also compatible with supported iOS and Android devices and allows for the sharing of glucose results in real-time with family or carers via push notifications.
Most Accurate Blood Glucose Meters
Glucose meter accuracy has long been a hot topic of discussion. In a previous blog, Is my meter accurate, we discuss some of the technical details of meter accuracy. However, to us with diabetes, the accuracy of our meter becomes very personal.
According to the Diabetes Technology Society surveillance study in 2017, only 6 of the 18 meters passed the accepted standard of accuracy. Industry focus on accuracy resulted in the FDA issuing new guidance in October 2016. Meters cleared by the FDA before this guidance were not required to meet this guidance to continue to be sold. Even meters released after 2016 were allowed to bypass the requirement if they were substantially the same as previously cleared meters. New meters released after 2016 are required to meet the tighter 2016 guidance.
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What Are The Benefits Of Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Those living with type 1 diabetes more commonly require continuous glucose monitoring. Still, those with type 2 can also benefit, especially those with gestational diabetes or those just learning how to manage it independently.
Continuous glucose monitoring simply means rather than manually checking your blood sugar throughout the day before and after meals and before bed, the CGM device will track it all day long. Those with type 1 diabetes who cannot properly produce insulin benefit significantly from measuring it all day. It may alert them when their blood sugar is too low or too high, and they can quickly respond.
Poor management of blood glucose levels can cause a slew of complications such as heart disease, kidney problems, eye issues, nerve damage to the extremities , neuropathy, etc. Prolonged high blood sugar can cause these symptoms and, over time, only worsen, so CGM helps prevent these issues and significantly improve the longevity and quality of life for those living with diabetes.
Factors That Can Affect Accuracy In A Glucose Meter
Even the most accurate glucose meter in the world needs to follow specific rules and protocols to ensure near 100% accuracy. Many things can affect how well your glucose test comes out. The key is to follow the blood glucose meter instructions, but also consider the following:
The way you test can severely affect the results. This means you should always follow the instructions and avoid using alternate sites on the body unless otherwise directed, and always make sure you have enough blood on the test strip to get a reading. Using the wrong technique consistently could mean months of inaccurate blood glucose levels, and thus poor diabetes management, which could be very dangerous.
Clean Testing Site
It can be really easy to want to get lazy because you constantly have to check your blood sugar levels, but taking the time to clean and sterilize the testing site and to wash your hands can be the difference between a correct and incorrect test result. Any amount of dirt or grease on your hands or near the testing site can affect the outcome.
Temperature and Environment
Your meter needs to be stored in proper conditionssuper high or super low temperatures as well as higher altitudes can diminish the glucose meter accuracy.
Glucose Meter Quality
Yes, the quality of the meter matters! When it comes to managing your diabetes, dont go cheap. Your glucose meter should also meet all of the standards we mentioned above.
Testing Strips Quality
Calibrating the Meter
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How Does It Compare With Other Devices
Continuous glucose monitors , such as the Abbott FreeStyle Libre, Dexcom G6, and the Eversense implant, are increasingly used by people with type 1 diabetes, and some with type 2 diabetes, as a way to keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels.
Asked how the POGO device compares with these other systems, Intuity Chief Commercial Officer Dean Zikria says, “While is certainly an important option for a subset of people with diabetes, CGM is a very different technology, requiring a user to wear a sensor and transmitter on their body.”
Patients also need to obtain a prescription in order to use a continuous sugar monitor. POGO Automatic is available without a prescription and gives people who do not want to wear a device on their body another choice, Zikria says.
The POGO system is available at pharmacies including CVS and Walgreens, and can also be purchased online at www.presspogo.com.
The device costs $68 from the company website and a pack of 5 cartridges costs $32.
The Importance Of Meter Accuracy
Accurate readings of your blood glucose are obviously very important because you need to know how much insulin you need or if you need to eat a snack before your blood sugar gets too low or too high. But there are other reasons why meter accuracy is so important.
- You gather reliable data that you can trust to manage your diabetes appropriately and compare past and current numbers to make adjustments to your care plan.
- You can better anticipate lab results when you go for your regular checkups and blood work.
- Know what foods affect your blood sugar and how you can combat any adverse changes in glucose levels
- Accurately dose your insulin or other medications based on accurate test results.
Notes For Buying Online
When browsing for glucose monitors online, youll notice that some versions, such as the Rite Aid TrueMetrix, are available for purchase over the counter, while CGMs, such as the FreeStyle Libre or Dexcom G6, are not.
This is because youll need a doctors prescription to get a CGM system. However, you dont need a prescription for the basic fingerstick meters weve included on our list. With a prescription, you may be able to buy a CGM from a medical supply store online.
If you do decide to purchase a glucose monitor or meter online, be sure you know the total costs up front, including any test strips, extra sensors, lancets, and accessories that may be sold separately. You might also consider setting up these accessories on an auto-ship basis so you dont run out.
How Do You Use A Glucose Meter
Always read the full instructions for a glucometer before using it, and note down any specific instructions given to you about glucose meter use by your doctor. The basic approach when using a blood sugar monitor is to wash your hands thoroughly, then insert a new disposable test strip into the meter.
Next, prick your finger with a lancet to draw a drop of blood. Now carefully place that finger against the test strip , which has been treated with chemicals to enable it to react with glucose. In America, glucose meters report test results in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood .
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Best For A Small Budget: Freestyle Libre 2 System
- Price: $060 a month with insurance
The FreeStyle Libre 2 system automatically measures glucose levels.
The devices features include:
- a 14-day free trial with training
- optional glucose alarms
- sensors that last for up to 14 days at a time
According to the company, the devices app is not compatible with all mobile devices. A person can check online if their phone is compatible with the app.
The website states that a persons insurance may cover up to $60 a month in expenses for the device.
Additionally, people can sign up for a free trial on the companys website.
Where Can I Test My Blood Sugar Besides My Finger
The finger is the most reliable area for a person to test their blood sugar. However, some monitors may allow for alternate site testing. These alternate sites may include the palm, upper forearm, abdomen, calf, and thigh.
A person should always check the instructions on their blood glucose monitor to check if this is possible before performing alternate site testing.
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Blood Sugar Monitor Without Finger Pricks
It is important to keep a tab on the blood sugar readings for diabetic patients. But pricking the fingertips daily to get blood samples can be painful for them. This is a time-consuming process too. Here comes the importance of a blood sugar monitor without finger pricks. FreeStyle Libre is one of the best blood sugar monitors that does not require finger pricks. Its a user-friendly monitor and has a fast test time.
Read more about selecting the best blood sugar monitor without finger pricks.
Best Glucose Meters: The Final Word
Glucose meters wear out over time and should be renewed every two years to ensure accurate and reliable results. Before buying a glucose meter, check with your insurance provider to see what they will cover. That includes test strips compatible with the glucometer youre thinking of purchasing, as strips can drive up the overall cost in the long-term.
Once you know where you stand with your insurer, you can then make a shortlist of the best glucose meters within your budget range. Look for features that will make your life easier, such as a large display, or data storage for multiple readings. Keep the size in mind too, as youll be carrying your blood sugar testing kit with you throughout the day.
Ultimately, a glucose meter is only good for you if it works for your diagnosis, your lifestyle and your budget. If youre really stuck and still dont know which glucometer to choose, ask your doctor or a diabetes health expert if they can make some recommendations even a steer on brands will point you in the right direction.
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How Can I Clean My Glucometer
These medical instruments must be cleaned regularly to remain accurate. Use a soft cloth dampened with soap and water to avoid damaging delicate parts. You should never use alcohol, ammonia-based cleaners, glass cleaners, or abrasives. Some models integrate an alert to tell you when it is time to clean the device.
Tips To Make Glucose Monitoring Easier
Whether youre using a traditional finger-prick monitor or a CGM for your diabetes management, here are some tips to make checking your glucose easier:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before checking your glucose for a more accurate result. Do not use hand sanitizer before doing finger sticks.
- If inserting a sensor into your skin for a CGM, be sure to wash the area of skin with soap and water and allow it to dry first.
- Change any sensors by the recommended manufacturer time for example, every 14 days for the FreeStyle Libre and every 10 days for the Dexcom G6.
- If using finger strips, you may experience less pain by using the side of your fingertip closer to your fingernail.
- Even if youre using a CGM, you may consider having a traditional meter on hand to double-check your glucose readings. This is in case you experience symptoms of high or low blood sugar despite a normal reading.
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