We are always confused about using the best glucometer at home or a doctor’s consultancy. We are afraid of making mistakes while using a Glucometer or inviting more diseases if necessary precautions are not taken.
Glucometers are used to measure the blood sugar level in our body. It helps you get your glucose levels on track and say no to diabetics. There is always the necessity of having a Glucometer at home and a person who knows to use it accurately so that it would be a great help for our parents and grandparents.
In this article, you will get to know how to use a Glucometer, especially at home, how to do quality control tests before using Glucometer, the precautions to take, and the advantages and disadvantages of using a Glucometer.
Firstly, let’s introduce the parts of a Glucometer.
The person performing the test must know the different devices provided in a Glucometer kit. The kit also provides a manual to make it easier for us. Glucometer work on the principles of electrochemical reaction. So the different parts of the device are designed according to it. You can buy a basic Glucometer testing kit from your nearby medical store.
- Testing strips; These are provided within the kit. It is a thin plastic strip that absorbs small blood droplets to measure glucose levels. A single test strip is valid for one use, and the whole set of the testing strip is valid for four months. So check the expiry date before you buy.
- Glucometer device; It is a small handy device. It has a monitor in it which shows the readings. We will place the testing strips in the Glucometer to measure our glucose levels.
- Lancet and lancet device; Lancets are needles used to pierce our fingers to take blood. Each kit contains a minimum of ten lancets in it. We can place the lancets in the lancet device then press them into our fingers to take blood.
- Quality control; Is a solution that you get with the kit to make sure that the machine is calibrated and is working correctly every time you use it.
Quality Control Test or QC Test.
A quality control solution is only good for three months. You have to make sure that it is not expired. Never shake the solution; roll it in between your hands.
Turn on the monitor and insert the strip into it. Place a drop of quality control solution on the strip. If the monitor shows readings within the calibration range, you can ensure that it is ready to use.
Now let’s come to accurate testing.
Open the kit and take all the devices in it. You can also read the manual provided with it for a detailed understanding of its devices and the procedures to practice. Always wash your hands before testing to ensure that your hands and fingers are free from germs.
Turn on the Glucometer. You can do quality testing to ensure that your device is calibrated.
Open the lancet device and place the lancet or needle into it. After that, rotate the lancet device and tighten it. You can rotate the lancet device and adjust it to the level you want to pierce.
Place the lancet device on your finger and press and release it to take blood.
Take the test strip. Insert the strip on the Glucometer and wait for the code 007 displayed on the monitor. After that, place a drop of blood on the strip and wait for the readings. You will get the results within thirty seconds, and the result is displayed on the monitor.
The Glucometer device contains two switches, ‘M’ and ‘S’. When you press the ‘M’ button, you will get your previous readings along with the date and time. By pressing the ‘S’ button, you can fix the hours and date and time.
If we use the used strip again for testing, the monitor shows the code ‘E-4’, which indicates that the strip is contaminated.
The manual provides different codes that denote different errors and provide solutions to these errors.
Precautions to be taken.
Sometimes we get false readings after the test is done. We believe that it is the correct result and finds it wrong when consulted by a doctor. We think that it is the device’s fault that it shows false readings, but it is our fault that we didn’t take the necessary precautions. Here are some necessary precautions to be taken while using a Glucometer.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or hand wash properly before testing and make your hands dry. If your hands are clean after washing, you can take the first drop of blood while you pierce with a lancet. If you are in a situation where you are unable to wash your hands, you can wipe out the first drop of blood and can take the second drop for testing.
- The patient or the person doing the test must have sufficient knowledge about glucose monitoring.
- Always check the expiry date of the product. Use new lancets and test strips to get accurate answers. Please keep it in a closed container.
- Practise the test before your meal or two hours after your meal. Testing your glucose levels just after your meal can show high results.
- You can choose any finger that you wish to pierce. Dont squeeze your fingers as it causes only interstitial fluid to come out, not blood. This can lead to false results.
- Always make your body hydrated.
- Ensure not to reuse or share your needles, syringes, and lancets with others.
Advantages of using a Glucometer
There are many advantages of using a Glucometer as it can be used anywhere, anytime.
- It is best for Home Blood Glucose Monitoring.
- It is a great help for diabetic patients, especially senior citizens, to monitor their sugar levels at home as they cannot consult doctors and labs regularly.
- A glucometer can do the early detection of hypoglycemia.
- By using a Glucometer, we can track our glucose levels and change our diet plan accordingly not to invite more diabetic diseases.
Disadvantages of using a Glucometer.
Many physical and psychological problems are associated with the use of a Glucometer. Here are some;
- It causes great pain while we pierce our skin with a Glucometer. This creates a psychological problem in the patients not to pierce their skin and do the test.
- Glucometers are not affordable.
- Glucometers can cause infection if we prick on the same part of the finger as the skin barrier that saves infection is broken due to repeated pricking.
- Chances of cross-infection are more in the case of repeated pricking, especially STDs.
- Glucose testing creates anxiety in people, mainly stress-related problems, while pricking their fingers to take a sample of blood.
Glucometers are a great help in Home Blood Glucose Monitoring. We have to be educated enough about the features of the Glucometer and how to perform the testing. We can’t blindly depend on the results from home monitoring. As our glucose levels vary day by day, we also have to consult a doctor to get accurate results of our body’s condition.
We can also educate the public about using the Glucometer at home to make it easier for them.
Using a Glucometer can help us take the necessary steps to control our diabetes and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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