August 1, 2013
What To Consider in a Blood Glucose Meter
Are you confused by all the hype about blood glucose meters? You should be and there is a lot of hype. Every writer approaches this from a different perspective and promotes what they feel is best. There are some general guidelines that it is often wise to follow. I want it understood that I am not promoting any meter over another, but I do urge you to consider the points I lay out and do not be afraid to talk to pharmacists and others that may assist you and provide guidance.
#1. What will your medical insurance cover. This is often what will determine the type of meter that you will chose because the cost of test strips can be prohibitive and you may need to consider this first.
#2. If you do not have insurance, then economic considerations may be the most important. There are economical meters and test strips available that are reliable and that do not have all the bells and whistles that many people think they need and never use.
#3. If you are one of the fortunate people with few economic barriers and chose to go outside your insurance, then you have a wide range of considerations in making a choice.
Once you have determined which of the above applies to you, now the choices become even more difficult. They may be very limited in selection or you may have a wide range to choose from. This will depend on your insurance company and there are some real issues under Medicare which have yet to be resolved. Unless the courts act soon, many on Medicare may be caught with no supplies.
TV ads are very deceptive and often misleading, yet many people become suckered in and spend the money. Then when they receive the meter and test strips, they realize that they have been had, but there is seldom a way to return them. These companies will be very evasive in an attempt to make you keep what you ordered.
Many of the TV ads advocate for alternate site testing and this is okay if you seldom have a hypoglycemic episode and are fairly consistent in your readings from your fingertips. You need to know that the reading you receive from an alternate testing site is an indication from 15 to 25 minutes ago depending on the area used for alternate testing. Also, there are very few alternate test sites that are totally pain free. I urge anyone on insulin not to consider alternate site testing because if you are having a low, you need the now readings of your fingertips.
Many people were enticed into the talking meters and then wondered what to do when they were out in public. I have heard them in restaurants and other places and people just could not muffle the sound. So if you are a person desiring secrecy, forget these, as secrecy is next to impossible.
If you have a computer, you may wish to consider a meter that will upload to your computer. Normally the cost is for software and a cable from a USB port to the meter.
These two blogs seem to think you have all the choice and can purchase any meter which may not be the case.
There is a growing concern about the test strip accuracy and I strongly urge people to read two blogs of many (this one by Ann Bartlett and this one on Diabetesmine) about the declining accuracy and that apparently no one is doing anything about it. I can only feel fortunate that I have one of the top two meters listed in several reports – meaning that the tests strips are considered the most accurate.