How Do I Check
People with diabetes check their blood glucose levels by poking their fingertips and using a blood glucose meter or a continuous glucose monitor to measure the blood glucose level at that moment. Read on to find out how to use a blood glucose meter. To find out more about CGMs, start by talking to your doctor.
How To Choose A Glucose Monitor
To make the transition from regular glucose meters to non-invasive glucose monitors, one must be thorough about their mechanisms. To know more about how to detect diabetes without blood tests, certain important factors must be considered while selecting the appropriate glucose monitor.
- Accuracy – It is advisable to check for authenticity in the readings.
- Alerts and alarm systems – The CGM should have a reliable alarm system to notify patients in events of approaching hypoglycemiaand hyperglycemia.
- Ease of transferring data – The readings should be easy to transfer between different devices through a wireless network.
- Convenience of usage – The device should not be too complicated to handle.
- Cost – It should be economical and cost-effective.
- Skin reactions – One should check for allergic reactions on the skin, due to the sensors and adhesives used in the glucose monitors.
- Insurance cover – The medical insurance company has to approve the necessity of using the glucose monitor. Hence, one needs to verify approval and then proceed.
- Accessories – Check for availability of extra features like prominent display, water-resistance, predictive notifications, data retrieval options, compactness etc. before zeroing in on the product.
- Approval from federal agencies – The device must be approved for use by agencies like the FDA.
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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If You Dont Have Diabetes Should You Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Several companies are working hard to make this sort of ad a reality, as they begin marketing implantable blood sugar measuring devices to people without diabetes. Called continuous glucose monitoring systems, or CGMs, they are often used by people who do have diabetes. These companies could reap enormous profits by convincing healthy people to start monitoring blood sugar. Already, many of us monitor our weight, heart rate, or steps per day.
CGMs use tiny sensor wires, or filaments, that pierce the skin to frequently and easily assess blood sugar levels. The filaments remain in place, usually on the upper arm or abdomen, protected by an adhesive patch. Results are displayed on a receiver or transmitted to the users phone.
Storage Size And Retrieval
Most glucometers store about 50 to 100 readings, but there are others on the market that can store up to 500 readings. The difference can matter for some because more readings allow you to discover patterns in when your blood glucose levels dip and rise. Dr. Goyal recommends purchasing a device with more memory storage, but only if your insurance company covers the glucometer.
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Special Requirements Needed To Use A Cgm
Twice a day, you may need to check the CGM itself. Youll test a drop of blood on a standard glucose meter. The glucose reading should be similar on both devices.
Youll also need to replace the CGM sensor every 3 to 7 days, depending on the model.
For safety its important to take action when a CGM alarm sounds about high or low blood glucose. You should follow your treatment plan to bring your glucose into the target range, or get help.
Finding The Most Convenient Blood Glucose Meter For You
Bringing more convenience to your diabetes management is the most effective way to make sure you stay on track with your treatment plan. An all-in-one glucose monitor makes checking your blood sugar easier, more discreet, and more comfortable, which helps you test more regularly to better manage your diabetes.
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Learning To Use Your Cgm Or Freestyle Libre
Your diabetes healthcare team will set you up with your CGM or Freestyle Libre if its free on the NHS and show you how to use it. Sometimes manufacturers will help you set up the technology this is fine and can help your healthcare team get more people on to the technology more quickly.
Abbott, which supply the FreeStyle Libre, also provide free online learning for people with diabetes using the technology to help them get the most from it.
You may also benefit from going on a diabetes education course if you use Flash or CGM. Ask your GP or other diabetes healthcare professional to refer you.
If you want to share your experiences about using tech or find out information by asking others using it, go to our forum.
How Does The Pogo Automatic Meter Work
The POGO Automatic is designed to simplify the process of checking your blood glucose. It also reduces the number of supplies needed. Users will need to load a POGO Automatic 10-test cartridge into the monitor, and once this is done, the only supply they will need to carry around is the monitor itself no lancets, no test strips.
Users press their finger onto the button in the center of the device, and the monitor will automatically lance, collect blood, and produce a glucose value four seconds later. After the test, the device automatically retracts the lancet and test strip and provides a new one for the next time you check your glucose.
You can view your glucose value on the monitor itself, or via the free Patterns app , which connects the device to your smartphone through Bluetooth. Though you do not need the app to see your glucose values, it allows users to see their glucose trends and share the data with their healthcare team using the Patterns healthcare provider portal. The Patterns App can also integrate glucose data with a variety of other wellness devices and apps. To learn more about how to use the POGO Automatic, you can read the user manual here.
POGO Automatic may encourage people to check their glucose more often by addressing some of the barriers to frequent tests, including simplifying the process into one step, adding discretion, and reducing the number of supplies you have to carry.
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What To Do For A High Blood Sugar Reading
You have high blood sugar when you get a reading:
- above your target level, which your doctor can determine
- above 130
milligrams of glucose per deciliter before eating
- higher than 180 mg/dl 2 hours after the start of a meal
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, if you get a high blood sugar reading, you should drink a glass of water and exercise to use up glucose. If you have more than three high readings in 2 weeks, contact your doctor about next steps. You may need to change your treatment plan.
The 7 Best Glucometers Of 2022
The Active Forward Diabetes Testing Kit delivers results in just five seconds
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of the Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences.
We independently research, test, review, and recommend the bestproducts. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Verywell / Sabrina Jiang
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.
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How The Freestyle Libre Works
The FreeStyle Libre system provides real-time glucose readings every minute, 24 hours a day. There are two systems to choose from:
- Freestyle Libre 14-day system
- Freestyle Libre 2 system
The FreeStyle Libre is a newer-generation CGM that doesn’t require a bulky transmitter. Instead, a small, water-resistant sensor with a tiny probe is placed on the back of the arm using the provided applicator.
The FreeStyle Libre tests the fluid in the space around cells, which is just as effective for glucose monitoring as blood from capillaries .
One hour after applying the sensor, the system is ready to go. The sensor takes a glucose reading every 60 seconds. A separate reader device remotely captures and records the readings on demand. You can then view the results individually or see how glucose levels trend over time.
To get a reading, place the reader within 1.5 inches from the sensor. You can scan the sensor as often as you’d like, but it is recommended that you perform a scan at least once every eight hours. .
The sensor can be worn for up to 14 days and store 90 days’ worth of results. After 14 days, the sensor stops working and needs to be replaced.
The FreeStyle Libre 2 is also equipped with an alarm to notify you if your glucose levels are too high or too low. The original FreeStyle Libre 14-Day does not have this feature.
Research Behind The Freestyle Libre
Some promising studies point to the FreeStyle Libres connections to a reduced risk of diabetes complications.
For example, a 2020 study found a 52% decrease in hospital visits for ketoacidosis in people with type 1 diabetes and a 47% decrease in those with type 2 diabetes.
Despite its approval, the still notes some risks associated with the FreeStyle Libre, including:
- skin irritation from where the sensor wire is inserted
- potential for false readings
- possible spikes or falls in blood glucose that arent detected until you wave the monitor in front of the sensor
- the possibility of blood glucose issues during sleep, in which the system wont alert you
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How Does A Flash Glucose Monitor And Cgm Work
Flash glucose monitors and continuous glucose monitors let you check your blood sugar levels without you having to prick your fingers.
You wear a small sensor on your body day and night that reads your blood sugar levels so you can see the information on your mobile, or other device. If someone helps you look after your diabetes, their mobile can be linked up too.
With a CGM and the latest flash glucose monitor , you can also set an alarm to sound if your blood sugar levels go too low or too high.
This can also be set up to sound on someone elses mobile, for example, a parent or carers.
One of the other main benefits of a flash glucose monitor and CGM is being able to review what your blood sugar levels do every minute of the day and night. With the charts and graphs, you can start to see and understand how food, activity, and other things affect your blood sugar levels.
“It’s a real mental health break knowing what your blood sugar levels are doing at any one time.” Matt
Freestyle Libre 1 sensors are being phased out if this affects you see the next steps.
What Are The Target Ranges
Blood glucose targets are individualized based on:
- duration of diabetes
- conditions a person may have
- cardiovascular disease or diabetes complications
- hypoglycemia unawareness
- individual patient considerations
The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes. A1C targets differ based on age and health. Also, more or less stringent glycemic goals may be appropriate for each individual.
- A1C: Less than 7%A1C may also be reported as eAG: Less than 154 mg/dL
- Before a meal : 80130 mg/dL
- 1-2 hours after beginning of the meal *: Less than 180 mg/dL
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Best For Data Management: Dario Blood Glucose Monitor Kit
Courtesy of Amazon
Device connects to phone, no batteries required
Free app for data tracking
Emergency hypoglycemia alert pairs with GPS location
Not compatible with all Android phones
For those who are hyperfocused on analyzing trends in their blood sugar reading data, our experts recommend this iPhone-compatible device from Dario. The smart, pocket-sized meter connects directly to the phone via its charging port so you dont have to deal with any cables or batteries.
All results are automatically recorded in the accompanying app on your phone, which also analyzes your results and makes it easier for you to track diabetes-specific metrics, such as carbohydrate consumption, physical activity, and medication adherence. You can even opt to share this data with your caregivers or family members.
The meter itself is fast and accurate, providing readings in less than six seconds. It also features a built-in emergency hypoglycemia alert paired with your GPS location so you can feel as safe as possible as you self-manage your blood sugar. The kit comes with the glucometer, 25 test strips, 10 lancets, and 10 disposable covers.
Price at time of publication: $35
Result Speed: 6 seconds| Included in Kit: 25 test strips, lancets, disposable covers
Compare Prices Of Similar Products
If youre not a frequent online shopper, you might find few items with good deals. But dont let these deals trap you, do make sure to compare prices first of the similar products to other online shops. With so many online shops offering the same items, youll be shocked that some of them sell at a higher price than they are supposed to. There are so many websites out there that can help you check and compare prices.
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Getting The Freestyle Libre App On Your Mobile Phone
To scan your Freestyle Libre 1 or Freestyle Libre 2 sensors from a smart mobile phone, download the the Freestyle LibreLink app from the app store on your phone.
Sharing data with friends and family
You can also share the data from your Freestyle Libre with friends, family or carers via the Libre Linkup app. They will need to download the LibreLinkUp app and create an account. You can then give them access to your data using your own LibreLink app and their email address
If its your first time opening the app, then you may need to set up an account. Once youve done that, hold your phone or device up to the sensor and you should feel it buzz twice. The sensor has been scanned and the app requires 60 minutes to calibrate so youll need to wait that long and then you can use it.
Difference Between A Flash Glucose Monitor And A Cgm
With a CGM your latest sugar levels show up on device or mobile automatically, transmitted by Bluetooth. With a flash glucose monitor, its only when you wave your device over your sensor that you get your blood sugar readings.
Some people prefer to use Flash over CGM. Reasons can include not liking the alarms. But unlike Flash, a CGM can talk to an insulin pump, if you want to use a closed loop system.
Your diabetes healthcare team should be able to support you to make the decision on which device will be best for you.
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What Do My Results Mean
When you finish the blood glucose check, write down your results and note what factors may have affected them, such as food, activity, and stress. Take a close look at your blood glucose record to see if your level is too high or too low several days in a row at about the same time. If the same thing keeps happening, it might be time to change your diabetes care plan. Work with your doctor or diabetes educator to learn what your results mean for you. It can take time to make adjustments and get things just right. And do ask your doctor if you should report results out of a certain range right away by phone.
Keep in mind that blood glucose results often trigger strong feelings. Blood glucose numbers can leave you upset, confused, frustrated, angry, or down. It’s easy to use the numbers to judge yourself. Remind yourself that tracking your blood glucose level is simply a way to know how well your diabetes care plan is working, and whether that plan may need to change.
Customer Reviews And Reputation
Abbott Laboratories, the company that manufactures the FreeStyle Libre, is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Also, the BBB page for the company shows multiple active alerts. None of the alerts are related to the FreeStyle Libre device, though.
While the BBB page features only 36 customer reviews, recent ones note some potentially life threatening inaccuracy issues with the device. Multiple people complain of faulty and failed sensors and mention having trouble getting replacement ones.
Abbott also has a low rating on Trustpilot, an average of 1.4 out of 5 stars. Most reviews cite poor customer service.
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Infection Prevention During Blood Glucose Monitoring And Insulin Administration
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has become increasingly concerned about the risks for transmitting hepatitis B virus and other infectious diseases during assisted blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration.
CDC is alerting all persons who assist others with blood glucose monitoring and/or insulin administration of the following infection control requirements:
- Fingerstick devices should never be used for more than one person
- Whenever possible, blood glucose meters should not be shared. If they must be shared, the device should be cleaned and disinfected after every use, per manufacturers instructions. If the manufacturer does not specify how the device should be cleaned and disinfected then it should not be shared.
- Insulin pens and other medication cartridges and syringes are for single-patient-use only and should never be used for more than one person
Monitoring of blood glucose levels is frequently performed to guide therapy for persons with diabetes. Blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration can be accomplished in two ways: self-monitoring of blood glucose and insulin administration, where the individual performs all steps of the testing and insulin administration themselves, and assisted monitoring of blood glucose and insulin administration, where another person assists with or performs testing and insulin administration for an individual.
- Hospitals or clinics
- Schools or camps