Affordability: The Cost Of Blood Glucose Meters & Test Strips
The first and most important note about the affordability of a blood glucose meter is that the price will be a one-time cost, but test strips need to be purchased on an ongoing basis.
How Much Should a Blood Glucose Meter Cost?
The cost of a blood glucose meter will depend on its features. Less costly meters may not have a color screen or Bluetooth capabilities, while more expensive meters may include these advanced features. Whatever the capabilities, the meter should last for at least a few years.
Many major brands have free meter programs that offer an upgrade to the latest device at no cost, but there are certain qualifications you must meet.
Test strip costs will vary based on the amount you need and the brand. Typically, test strips are available in 25, 50, or 100 count boxes. The price of test strips will depend on the brand, and can range anywhere from less than $0.25 per test strip to over a dollar each.
The blood glucose meter you choose will require you to use test strips that are designed specifically for that meter, so check costs before you decide on a meter brand.
If youre testing several times throughout the day, youll need more strips, so you should consider total daily test strip cost.
Health Insurance Coverage
Its important to know that you dont necessarily have to go through your insurance. Many meters are affordable enough to purchase outside of a prescription. Some even cost less and offer features and benefits that others may not.
Libre 2 With Optional Alerts
Just but available overseas a couple of years before that, the Libre 2 was the first model to introduce optional glucose alerts for highs and lows. It uses Bluetooth to determine the glucose range programmable from 60 to 100 mg/dL in order to trigger a Low alert and 120 to 400 mg/dL for a High alert. While the notifications came without a need to scan the sensor, you still needed to scan the sensor before getting an actual result.
For many people, that continued need to scan before getting a result meant the Libre 2 still didnt offer the same kind of protection for high and low glucose levels as competing CGM tech offered particularly overnight, when hypoglycemia can be even more dangerous as people are sleeping and not actively monitoring or experiencing symptoms.
The first two iterations of the FreeStyle Libre named the 14-day and 10-day, respectively were pretty much the same base technology as the Libre 2, minus optional alerts. Both also included the handheld scanner needed to get results, though the 14-day unit eventually could be scanned with a smartphone app instead of the handheld receiver.
The Importance Of A Good Blood Glucose Meter
Its important to make sure that you use a good blood glucose or blood sugar meter. Roughly 1 in 10 people throughout the US will struggle with diabetes. That number is likely to rise according to experts. With a high-quality blood sugar metering system, youll be able to help them improve their quality of life and overall health.
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What Diabetes Supplies Do I Need
- A glucose meter
- Lancets to pierce your finger for a blood sample
- Urine test strips to measure ketone levels
- Glucose tablets
- Emergency alert bracelet
There may be other supplies you’ll want to purchase, such as control solutions or specialty items like carrying cases.
A Guide To The Best Glucose Meters Of 2019
It is estimated that 8.5% of people over 18 suffer from hyperglycemia–so monitoring blood sugar levels is a must for these people. Most blood glucose meters require lancing the skin in order to take a small blood sample–but now meters have been developed to get accurate results even with tiny sample sizes. They give accurate results easily and quickly. And there are also sensor-based glucose meters, which can get blood glucose readings without requiring you to lance your finger every time you want to track your blood sugar levels.
As for the meters themselves, youll see that there are digital glucose meters with a wide range of functionality, which can give quick and accurate results. There are glucose meters that hook up to a computer with a USB connection and come with the accompanying software to analyze the results. Some can hook up to a computer or mobile device wirelessly, via Bluetooth–even your physician can see the results in real time! And youll see meters which can store and average out the results of several months of data.
Weve composed this buyers guide to help you make the right decision when selecting a glucose meter. It’ll help you:
Choose the right type of glucose meter,
See useful tips about the particular types of glucose meters,
Read reviews of different glucose meters, and what customers are saying,
Select the right brand of a glucose meter, and
Compare prices and find the best deals.
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Best Glucose Meter For Seniors
Reasons to avoid
The Care Touch glucometer is relatively inexpensive compared to others, and thats because it opts for a basic design with little in the way of fancy frills. But that means its also simple to use, and is ideal for seniors experiencing sight issues as the display is large, uncluttered, and uses big numbers for at-a-glance readings.
Speaking of fast, the Care Touch Blood Glucose Monitoring System delivers a result in five seconds, which is on par with some of the more premium blood sugar monitors.
As an older model, its no surprise to see that the Care Touch glucometer has over 13,000 user reviews on Amazon, generating an average score of 4.6 out of 5 stars. 90% of those reviews are rated 4 stars and above, and focus on the affordability, ease of use, the large and simple display, and how accurate it is for a cheaper meter. Users also praise how compact the meter is. Critical reviews focus on customer service, battery life, and some accuracy concerns, which are echoed in a Walmart user review.
Although its a cheap glucometer, you can still annotate the readings with information such as pre-meal or post-exercise. Your doctor may recommend that you keep consistent notes when taking readings so that you have extra insight into potential causes for spikes and crashes.
In addition to recommending this glucose meter for seniors, it could be helpful to beginners who dont want to spend a great deal on blood sugar monitoring until they are comfortable with it.
The Best Glucose Monitors
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People living with diabetes should check their blood sugar regularly. There are currently two main options for monitoring glucose levels continuous glucose monitoring devices and blood glucose meters. The best monitors give reliable, consistent readings to help guide a persons treatment.
- Best for continual measurement from a below-skin sensor: Dexcom G6 CGM System
- Best for predictive glucose spike warnings: The-Guardian-Connect-System
- Best for glucose alarms: FreeStyle-Libre-2-System
- Best for tracking and sharing with medical professionals: Contour Next One
- Best monthly digital subscription: OneDrop Glucose Meter
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
There are two types of glucose monitors:
- continuous glucose monitor
- blood glucose meter
Both types of monitors have different characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks that a person with diabetes should consider.
Both CGM and BGM monitors require a prescription.
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How Do I Store Diabetes Medications And Supplies
If you take insulin, your doctor or diabetes educator will give you full instructions for storing it and using it effectively. Some diabetes drug manufacturers suggest storing the insulin in the refrigerator. Yet, as anyone with diabetes will tell you, injecting cold insulin into the body can be painful.
To avoid a painful, cold injection, many diabetes educators suggest keeping insulin at room temperature while it’s being used. Insulin should last about one month at room temperature. Many people prefer to keep the diabetes supplies in a kitchen or bedroom drawer. That way, the glucose monitor, syringes, insulin, lancets, alcohol swabs, and other necessary supplies are always together and available for use.
Always think ahead. You never want to risk being without the supplies and medicine you need. Keep extra supplies on hand to reduce the risk of a diabetic emergency. If you use insulin, you can store extra bottles in the refrigerator and take a bottle out so it has time to warm to room temperature before giving yourself an injection.
Never freeze insulin or store it in a hot location. If you purchase insulin from a pharmacy, be sure to take it home soon after buying it to avoid extreme temperatures. Also, keep test strips dry, and don’t expose them to moisture or extreme heat or cold or you may damage the integrity of the strip.
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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What To Look For In A Glucose Monitor For Dogs
When looking at glucose monitors for your pet dog it might be tempting to go for the cheapest option – don’t ever do this! Look for a reputable brand that has been backed by veterinarians and other professionals in the industry. Starter kits provide a good option for beginners as they contain everything you need to start monitoring your dog’s blood sugar levels. Take a look at the kits which provide easy-to-read screens and can store a decent amount of test results too – it’s always good to be able to look and see how your pet’s blood levels have changed. Accuracy is the most important feature of blood glucose monitors. Find the most accurate testing kit on the market for the best results.
When Should I Test My Blood Sugar With A Glucometer
Always follow your doctor’s recommendations about how often you should test your glucose, as you may need to test your blood sugar levels several times a day to make necessary adjustments to your diet, activity or medication.
According to the CDCs blood sugar management advice, how often you check your blood sugar depends on the type of diabetes you have and if you take any diabetes medicines. Your doctor may also want to check your blood sugar more frequently if you take insulin. Common times to test your blood sugar include:
- When you wake up, before eating or drinking
- Before you eat a meal
- Two hours after eating a meal
- When you go to bed
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How Accurate Are The Best Glucose Meters
Youd be forgiven for thinking that all glucometers have FDA clearance because they are medical devices, but that isnt always so. The 2018 FDA draft guidance for personal use glucose meters will require:
- 95% within +/- 15% across the measuring range
- 99% within +/- 20% across the measuring range
Research conducted by The Diabetes Technology Society Blood Glucose System Surveillance Program found that accuracy varied widely between the major home blood glucose meters. At present, they are considered clinically accurate if the reading is within 20% of what a lab test would indicate. The quality of the glucometer and compatible testing strips can impact the overall accuracy of your blood sugar monitoring test.
How accurate your glucometer is depends on the quality of the device itself and the quality of compatible test strips. Wed also recommend checking the instructions for the meter to see what substances might interfere with blood sugar reading accuracy.
Finally, store the glucose meter and test strips according to the manufacturers instructions, as incorrect storage may also impact accuracy of readings. Test strip vials, for example, should be closed when stored. This is backed by research, published by the National Library of Medicine, that showed how test strip stability lasted longer for closed vials than open vials.
Monitoring Your Blood Sugar
Regular blood sugar monitoring is the most important thing you can do to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Youll be able to see what makes your numbers go up or down, such as eating different foods, taking your medicine, or being physically active. With this information, you can work with your health care team to make decisions about your best diabetes care plan. These decisions can help delay or prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation. Your doctor will tell you when and how often to check your blood sugar levels.
Most blood sugar meters allow you to save your results and you can use an app on your cell phone to track your levels. If you dont have a smart phone, keep a written daily record like the one in the photo. You should bring your meter, phone, or paper record with you each time you visit your health care provider.
Sometimes having high blood sugar can feel like a test you didnt pass. But numbers are just numbers. Think of them instead as information. Did a certain food or activity make your levels go up or down? Armed with that knowledge, you can make adjustments and get closer to your target range more often.
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Frequently Asked Questions On Glucose Meters
While it ultimately depends on your glucose meter, generally speaking, your meter should be replaced if its older than five years. There will be instances in which your meter may last shorter or longer than that, but that is the average age at which meters should be replaced. Always speak with your doctor about whether or not you should upgrade. Be on the lookout for new meters that have new features and that you can get at a lower monthly cost. Once again, a doctor may be able to provide insight into making the switch to a newer model.
Most glucose monitor kits come with a test solution that will allow you to test for accuracy. The testing procedure will involve squeezing a drop of the solution onto a test strip, inserting it into the monitor. Compare the amount of glucose you see with the amount printed on the solutions bottle. If the numbers align, your glucose meter is working properly. Test your meter each time you open a new box of test strips or as often as the meter supplier suggests. If you ever receive a blood sugar reading that seems off, test your monitor to see if there is an issue.
In some instances, the strips may have been compromised through extreme heat or cold. Try a fresh pack of strips and see if that does the trick. If not, speak with your doctor about potentially finding a new blood glucose meter.
Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring Better Than A Regular Blood Glucose Meter
Diabetes technology is ever-evolving. With the latest and advanced features, continuous blood glucose monitoring has won people’s hearts. The device is more accurate than a regular blood glucose monitoring system and equipped with the latest features to check your blood sugar level.
You can insert a quick and painless needle injection into your skin’s subcutaneous tissues, and a sensor will tell you the detailed blood glucose readings. You don’t need to prick your finger, you can read your blood sugar level via a scanner or your smartphone whenever you want, and memory storage will keep all your data.
The standard glucose meter is a great device but a continuous glucose monitor does a better, faster, and more accurate job. The device is portable, and you can monitor your blood glucose at any given time.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
When visiting your doctor, you might keep these questions in mind to ask during your appointment.
- What is my target blood sugar range?
- How often should I check my blood sugar?
- What do these numbers mean?
- Are there patterns that show I need to change my diabetes treatment?
- What changes need to be made to my diabetes care plan?
If you have other questions about your numbers or your ability to manage your diabetes, make sure to work closely with your doctor or health care team.
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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