Everything You Need To Know About Diabetes Test Strips
Update: A lot of our readers ask us where can they find the best deals for test strips. We personally recommend Amazon. You can check the list of selections they offer by clicking here. Blood glucose test strips play a crucial role in helping you to monitor your daily blood glucose level and giving your doctor the data to adjust your medication to control your diabetes symptoms. Without the help from these little disposable strips, life with diabetes can become even more chaotic than ever. But what exactly are these thin little plastic slip and why are they so expensive? Are there any alternative method I can use? Where can I get the best deal on these test strips? This article will answer many of your questions and concerns regarding these blood glucose test strips: Table of Contents History on Glucose Test Strips How Does the Test Strips Work Why Are the Strips So Expensive? And Why the Price Discrepancy? Why Must Diabetic Patients Use Glucometer and Test Strip? How Often Should You Administer A Blood Glucose Test? How to Find Out if Your Glucose Monitor is Accurate? How Accurate Are the Test Strips? How to Find Out if Your Glucose Monitor is Accurate? What is a Urine Glucose Test? Can’t I Use This Procedure Instead? Expiration of Test Strips Medicare Plan B Coverage for Glucose Test Strips Where to Get the Best Deal on Test Strips? Ways to Save of Test Strips How to Avoid Counterfeit Blood Glucose Test Strips Can You Reuse Test Strips? Can You Make Your Own Test Strip? 4 Most Affordable Meters How to Pick the Right Glucometer? How to Dispose Used Test Strips, Lancets, and Needles? What to Do with All These Test Strip Containers? Selling Your Glucose Test Strips A Good Idea? Odd Way to Earn Some Money Back Questions? History on Glucose Test Strips The first glucomet Continue reading >>
7 Blood Sugar Testing Mistakes To Avoid
1 / 8 Understand Diabetes Testing If you have diabetes, it's imperative that you learn to effectively self-test your blood sugar to keep your glucose levels in check. For example, results from a study of more than 5,000 people living with diabetes showed that even those people who don't take medication for diabetes have better blood sugar control if they test regularly. The study participants' risk of early kidney damage, strokes, and death from diabetes-related causes was also reduced by one-third. Of course, the accuracy of your results is tied to the accuracy of your checking — and to your understanding of what all the numbers mean. "The most important point to me is that people are learning something from checking their blood sugar," says Sacha Uelmen, RDN, CDE, director of nutrition for the American Diabetes Association. "Don't just look at those numbers, write them down, and move on. If you have diabetes, take an active role in your health." To get the most useful readings, learn these common blood sugar testing mistakes and how to avoid them. Continue reading >>
Helpful Tips About Your Glucose Meter
Helpful Tips About Your Glucose Meter Diabetes care should be designed for each individual patient. Some patients may need to test (monitor) blood glucose more often than others do. How often you use your glucose meter should be based on the recommendation of your health care provider. Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is recommended for all people with diabetes, but especially for those who take insulin. Learning to Use Your Glucose Meter Not all glucose meters work the same way. Since you need to know how to use your glucose meter and interpret its results, you should get training from a diabetes educator. The educator should watch you test your glucose to make sure you can use your meter correctly. This training is better if it is part of an overall diabetes education program. Instructions for Using Glucose Meters The following are the general instructions for using a glucose meter: Wash hands with soap and warm water and dry completely or clean the area with alcohol and dry completely. Prick the fingertip with a lancet. Hold the hand down and hold the finger until a small drop of blood appears; catch the blood with the test strip. Follow the instructions for inserting the test strip and using the SMBG meter. Record the test result. FDA requires that glucose meters and the strips used with them have instructions for use. You should read carefully the instructions for both the meter and its test strips. Meter instructions are found in the user manual. Keep this manual to help you solve any problems that may arise. Many meters use "error codes" when there is a problem with the meter, the test strip, or the blood sample on the strip. You will need the manual to interpret these error codes and fix the problem. You can get information about your meter and test strip Continue reading >>
Top 10 Popular Blood Glucose Meters Put To The Test
With countless blood glucose meters on the market, how do you know which one to choose? Do you choose the most expensive one; it must work the best if it costs the most, right? Or are you a techie looking for a Bluetooth meter that syncs to your smartphone? Perhaps, you’re concerned with the cost and you’re looking for the most affordable meter. Top 10 Glucose Meters We’ve taken the time to test the ten most popular blood glucose meters. Take a look to find the meter that’s the best fit for you. Winner and our favorite meter is One Touch Ultra 2. OneTouch Ultra 2 Accu-Chek Aviva Connect Walmart ReliON Confirm OneTouch Verio Abbott FreeStyle Lite Walgreens True2Go Contour Next EZ Livongo Health In Touch Meter Nova Max Plus Sanofi iBGStar Our Pick After a careful review of the top glucose meters on the market, our #1 recommendation is the One Touch Ultra 2. It’s simply one of the best in terms of functionality and price. Click here to learn more. (Helpful Tip: Although you can get one from your local pharmacy, you’ll find it cheaper on Amazon. Click here to get yours.) Accu-Chek Aviva Connect The Accu-Chek Aviva Connect gets its name from the Bluetooth connection that syncs to the user’s smartphone. The Connect utilizes an app to keep track of both short-term and long-term readings on a person’s smartphone. The user can also view their trends via bar graphs and maps on the app. The Accu-Chek Aviva Connect will cost you $29.99 and $1.75 for a single test strip. One con to this meter is that the test strips are one of the highest priced strips on the market. However, they are readily available in almost all drug stores and pharmacies. Accu-Chek also offers a supplemental program called Preferred Savings which can reduce most test-strip co-pays to $15-$45. Ot Continue reading >>
Why Meters Can't Tell Us Our Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes advocate and author Riva Greenberg has been on a "meter accuracy kick" lately — researching the heck out of this controversial topic. Very timely considering I've been seeing loads of expensive TV ads for Accu-Chek's new Nano meter, claiming that it's "23% more accurate" (!) Riva recently published a piece at the Huffington Post on why meter accuracy is both less, and more, critical than you might think. Truth is, she tells us, meter accuracy is only one part of a much larger story. A Guest Post by Riva Greenberg After being lucky enough to receive an iBGStar meter from Sanofi the day before its launch, I ran a few comparison tests between it and the Bayer Contour USB, which I'd been using the past two years, and discovered that the iBGStar consistently gave me a reading 20-25 points higher. So I took out all my meters. There were several, (Sanofi studies show most people use 4 meters on average) and I even ordered two new free meters from FreeStyle. I checked my blood sugar several times on my collection of 7 meters (some think I was a little obsessed) and saw it was rare when two meters gave me the same number! Given that I feel like my meter is my lifeline, I wanted to find out how meters work and why different meters give different results. I talked with a number of Chief Medical Officers, MDs and Medical Safety Officers at several meter manufacturers and I'm going to tell you what I learned in layman's terms. To better understand the science behind meter and strip technology, you can google "meter accuracy" for white papers and posts that would delight even the geekiest engineer. To better know how accurate your own meter is (in percentage terms), you can "check the package insert that comes with the strips and look online at prescribing information," sa Continue reading >>
How Long Are Test Strips Good After You Open The Bottle?
Posted: March, 2012 If you landed on this page, I suggest you go to the beginning to see what affects the accuracy of test strips. In an effort to know how long after you open a test strip bottle they can be used, I called 6 major manufacturers of Glucose Meters. I asked each of them how long their strips are good, after the bottle is first opened. Assuming your are closing the bottle after each use and storing the bottle per the manufacturers directions, here are the results. All the customer service representatives were very helpful and I had no problem getting my questions answered1. OneTouch® - Good for 6 months after you first open the bottle or until the expiration date, which ever comes first. Accu-Chek® - Good to the expiration date on the bottle. The strips have an 18 month life span and it is estimated that once they arrive at the retailer they have 14 to 16 months left. FreeStyle® - Good until the expiration date on the bottle. Bayer® - Good until the expiration date on the bottle. Agamatrix® - Good for 90 days (three months) after you first open the bottle or until the expiration date, which ever comes first. Nipro Diagnostics®- Good for 120 days (4 months) after you first open the bottle or until the expiration date, which ever comes first. I find it interesting that Agamatrix®, manufacture of the WaveSense™ technology only last 90 days while the Accu-Chek® last up to 16 months. I find it somewhat odd that Abbott and Bayer do not establish a shorter expiration date based on the first opening the of the bottle while all the other strip manufactures do establish a time restriction. I am told that both Agamatrix® and OneTouch® test strips are available in a 25 count bottle. I like that idea. If I learn of any others who provide a less than 50 count Continue reading >>
Guidelines For Buying And Using Diabetes Supplies
Diabetes is a lifelong condition. Because it is, you can have major health problems if you don't keep blood glucose under control. That's why fully understanding how to buy and properly use diabetes testing supplies as well as diabetes medications is so important. Learning to regularly test your blood glucose level with a glucose monitor and to take diabetes medications when you are supposed to will make living with the condition much easier. With a little practice, you can self-manage diabetes just as you manage other aspects of your life. When you do, your quality of life and ability to be active and do the things you want to do will greatly improve. Home blood sugar (glucose) testing is an essential part of controlling your blood sugar and self-managing diabetes. Your diabetes educator can guide you in terms of how often to check your blood glucose and how to do it properly. Make sure the diabetes educator watches you use the glucose meter several times. That way, you can be sure you're doing it correctly. At a minimum, you'll be checking your blood sugar every morning before you eat. It's also advisable to check it before lunch and dinner and at bedtime. Your doctor may also ask that you test your blood one hour after eating. Blood glucose levels checked with blood taken from the fingertips will show important changes faster than glucose levels checked with blood taken from other sites on the body. The usual way to check blood sugar levels is by: Pricking the fingertip with a lancing tool -- a small, sharp needle Putting the blood drop on a test strip Placing the test strip into a glucose meter Reading the blood glucose level displayed on the meter If you take insulin, you might change the dose, depending on the reading. Checking blood glucose frequently allows you Continue reading >>
Choosing A Glucose Meter
Blood glucose meters are small, computerized devices that measure and display your blood glucose level. These devices are mainly used by people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitoring your blood glucose level provides you and your doctors with valuable information about how food, exercise, medications, stress, and other factors affect your blood glucose. This information will help you and your doctor construct a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Many types of blood glucose meters are available for at-home use, from basic models that only read blood glucose levels, to more advanced versions that offer features such as memory for storing information. The cost of blood glucose meters and testing supplies varies, and insurance may not always provide coverage. Study all options before picking out a meter, and if you have insurance, check which meter your insurance covers. Consider up-front costs, such as how much the actual meter costs, and long-term costs, such as how expensive testing strips and other supplies are. Then, work with your doctor and learn how to properly use your meter. Whether this is your first blood glucose meter or you’ve used one for several years and are looking for an upgrade, there are several questions you should ask yourself before you begin looking: Does your doctor or nurse suggest a specific meter? These people have a wealth of experience with an array of meters and can guide you in a good direction. What does your insurance cover? Your insurance company may have a list of preapproved meters it covers. Also, make sure to find out if and how your insurance will cover the cost of testing strips and supplies. How much will this meter cost you? Some meters can be costly and insurance companies don’t always make allowances for pricier Continue reading >>
Home Blood Glucose Test: About This Test
What is it? A home blood glucose test measures the amount of a type of sugar, called glucose, in your blood. Why is this test done? People who have diabetes need to check the amount of glucose in their blood. A home blood glucose test is an easy way to test your blood at home or when you are away from home. The results help you know when to take action to keep your blood glucose levels in a target range. How can you prepare for the test? Check the expiration date on the bottle of testing strips. Do not use test strips that have expired. Match the code number on the testing strips bottle with the number on the meter. If the numbers do not match, follow the directions with the meter for changing the code number. What happens before the test? The supplies you will need for testing blood glucose include: A blood glucose meter. Testing strips. These are made to be used with a specific model of meter. Sugar control solutions. Some meters require a specific solution. Many new meters are made to operate without a control solution. Short needles called lancets for pricking your skin. A pen-sized holder for the lancet (lancet device), which positions the lancet and controls how deeply it goes into your skin. Clean cotton balls. These are used to stop the bleeding from the testing site. What happens during the test? A home blood glucose test involves pricking your finger, palm, or forearm with a lancet to collect a drop of blood. The blood drop is placed on a test strip, which you insert into the blood glucose meter. The instructions for testing are slightly different for each blood glucose meter model. Follow the instructions that came with your meter. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water. Dry them well with a clean towel. You may also use an alcohol wipe to clean your finger o Continue reading >>
When Should I Replace My Blood Glucose Meter?
Replace your blood glucose meter for diabetes every one to two years. That's how long a typical glucose monitor will last if you're diligent about proper maintenance—like cleaning the lens, keeping batteries fresh and using the "check strip" with each new container of diabetic test strips. If an unusually high or low blood sugar result occurs, retest to verify the result; when the blood glucose meter stops being 100 percent reliable, check with your health insurance company about replacing it. When you do get a new glucose machine, keep the old one as a backup unless the doctor treating your diabetes feels it has become too unreliable. By Joyce A. Generali, M.S. FASHP, R.Ph., director of the University of Kansas Drug Information Center and the author of The Pharmacy Technician’s Pocket Drug Reference From our sister publication, Diabetes Focus, Summer 2011 Continue reading >>
When To Get A New Blood Glucose Meter?
I have had my current glucose meter for over 10 years. When should one consider getting a new meter? As long as the manufacturer still makes the strips, does it matter? Can meters become unreliable? Karen Adsit, Chattanooga, Tennessee Belinda Childs, ARNP, MN, BC-ADM, CDE, responds: When I am asked this question in the office, I usually answer that the glucose meter you are using is acceptable as long as it is giving you accurate readings. The best way to know if your meter is accurate is to use the "glucose control" solution for your brand of glucose meter and strips. The meter companies recommend that you do this with each new bottle of test strips and any time you suspect that you may not be getting accurate readings. However, the glucose control solution is generally only good for 30 days after you open the bottle. Some health care providers correlate meters with lab readings, but you must remember that there can be as much as a 10 to 15 percent variation between the readings you get with your meter from one test to the next, as well as between a home test and a lab result. The key to your question, though, is that you have not had a new meter in more than 10 years. Technology has improved significantly over the past decade. Meters now require much less blood, and thus a smaller needle stick. This means less pain on the fingers. With many meters, you can also use alternate site testing and give your fingertips a break. Test strip technology is better, too. Some strips allow reapplying blood on the same strip if there's not enough there to get a reading, so you do not use as many strips (and save on cost). Most manufacturers have removed the need to enter a code or change a code strip with each new bottle of strips. Many meters now have data management programs to h Continue reading >>
Are Blood Glucose Meters Accurate? New Data On 18 Meters
Results from the Diabetes Technology Society’s Blood Glucose Meter Surveillance Program identifies only six out of 18 meters that passed. Did yours make the cut? The Diabetes Technology Society (DTS) recently revealed long-awaited results from its Blood Glucose Monitor System (BGMS) Surveillance Program. The rigorous study tested the accuracy of 18 popular blood glucose meters (BGM) used in the US. These FDA-cleared meters were purchased through retail outlets and tested rigorously at three study sites in over 1,000 people (including 840 people with diabetes). The results were troubling: only six out of the 18 devices met the DTS passing standard for meter accuracy – within 15% or 15 mg/dl of the laboratory value in over 95% of trials. The devices that passed were: Contour Next from Ascensia (formerly Bayer) – 100% Accu-Chek Aviva Plus from Roche – 98% Walmart ReliOn Confirm (Micro) from Arkray – 97% CVS Advanced from Agamatrix – 97% FreeStyle Lite from Abbott – 96% Accu-Chek SmartView from Roche – 95% The devices that failed were: Walmart ReliOn Prime from Arkray – 92% OneTouch Verio from LifeScan – 92% OneTouch Ultra 2 from LifeScan – 90% Walmart ReliOn Ultima from Abbott – 89% Embrace from Omnis Health – 88% True Result from HDI/Nipro (Trividia) – 88% True Track from HDI/Nipro (Trividia) – 81% Solus V2 from BioSense Medical – 76% Advocate Redi-Code+ from Diabetic Supply of Suncoast – 76% Gmate Smart from Philosys – 71% Get the full data and all the accuracy information here. While all of these meters received FDA clearance at some point, this study shows that not all are equivalent in terms of accuracy. The FDA looks at company-reported trials when it reviews new meters; this study took an independent look, purchasing the meters di Continue reading >>
Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices
What does this test do? This is a test system for use at home to measure the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood. What is glucose? Glucose is a sugar that your body uses as a source of energy. Unless you have diabetes, your body regulates the amount of glucose in your blood. People with diabetes may need special diets and medications to control blood glucose. What type of test is this? This is a quantitative test, which means that you will find out the amount of glucose present in your blood sample. Why should you take this test? You should take this test if you have diabetes and you need to monitor your blood sugar (glucose) levels. You and your doctor can use the results to: determine your daily adjustments in treatment know if you have dangerously high or low levels of glucose understand how your diet and exercise change your glucose levels The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (1993) showed that good glucose control using home monitors led to fewer disease complications. How often should you test your glucose? Follow your doctor's recommendations about how often you test your glucose. You may need to test yourself several times each day to determine adjustments in your diet or treatment. What should your glucose levels be? According to the American Diabetes Association (Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2011, Diabetes Care, January 2011, vol.34, Supplement 1, S11-S61) the blood glucose levels for an adult without diabetes are below 100 mg/dL before meals and fasting and are less than 140 mg/dL two hours after meals. People with diabetes should consult their doctor or health care provider to set appropriate blood glucose goals. You should treat your low or high blood glucose as recommended by your health care provider. How accurate is this test? The ac Continue reading >>
Blood Glucose Monitors: What Factors Affect Accuracy?
Sometimes my blood glucose monitor seems to give incorrect readings. What can I do to make sure the measurement is accurate? Answers from M. Regina Castro, M.D. When used correctly, blood glucose monitors — small devices that measure and display your blood sugar level — are usually accurate. But occasionally they may be incorrect. Consider these factors that affect meter accuracy and the steps to resolve or prevent the problem: Factors that affect accuracy Solutions Test strip problems Throw out damaged or outdated test strips. Store strips in their sealed container; keep them away from heat, moisture and humidity. Be sure the strips are meant for your specific glucose meter. Extreme temperatures Keep your glucose meter and test strips at room temperature. Alcohol, dirt or other substances on your skin Wash and dry your hands and the testing site thoroughly before pricking your skin. Improper coding Some meters must be coded to each container of test strips. Be sure the code number in the device matches the code number on the test strip container. Monitor problems Fully insert the test strip into the monitor. Replace the monitor batteries as needed. Not enough blood applied to the test strip Touch a generous drop of blood to the test strip. Don't add more blood to the test strip after the first drop is applied. Testing site location If you're using a site other than your fingertip and you think the reading is wrong, test again using blood from a fingertip. Blood samples from alternate sites aren't as accurate as fingertip samples when your blood sugar level is rising or falling quickly. The amount of red blood cells in your blood If you are dehydrated or your red blood cell count is low (anemia), your test results may be less accurate. Blood glucose monitor quality Continue reading >>
Diabetes Before Glucose Meters: Not So Long Ago
and by Susan Pierce, MPT, CDE I am truly honored to interview one of my most treasured friends and colleagues, Susan Pierce, MPT, CDE, who has worked with me since 2002. Q. You were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 in 1981. Your dad was a doctor and your mom was a dietician. Was it harder for you or your parents to accept your diabetes? A. Initially, they were probably more in shock than I was because they worked in healthcare and knew the ravages of uncontrolled diabetes. I didn’t know anything about the disease, so when the pediatrician gave us the diagnosis, I thought, “How long do I have until I die?” Once I stayed in the hospital for a few days and learned how to take my own injections, I thought I knew what it took to keep my sugars stable, so I faced this disease head on, whether I was ready or not. Over the years, my parents and I, both, experienced a great deal of denial. I tried to do the best I could, but the tools that were available at the time were not the best. The only testing available to approximate glucose was urine testing. NPH and Regular insulin were the only insulin options that I had and these were clearly insufficient for managing blood sugars, so I quickly stopped trying, rather than face failure day after day. For me, better sugars didn’t become a real possibility until Humalog became available for me to use in 1997. Q. We see adolescents and teenagers with type 1 in our practice who are pretty angry about having diabetes. I remember one teenager who threw his pump in the toilet. Did you find that there was a point of diabetes overload when you couldn’t bear to hear anything else about your diabetes? A. Absolutely, but I seem to have tried not to remember so many of the difficult times. When I was in high school, I clearly di Continue reading >>