Diabetes tests: Choosing the right blood glucose meters

If you have diabetes, you’ll likely need a blood glucose meter to measure the sugar (glucose) in your blood every morning.

Monitoring your blood glucose level gives you and doctors valuable information about how food, exercise, drugs, and other factors affect your blood glucose.

Many types of blood glucose meters are available for at-home use, from basic models to more-advanced versions with numerous features and options.

The cost of these meters varies, and may not always be covered by insurance.

Blood glucose meter readings

The blood glucose meter readings of those who don’t have diabetes is between 70 to 100 mg/dL at all times.

The blood glucose measured after eight hours without food, which is also referred to as fasting blood glucose, should always be less than 100 mg/dL.

Low blood sugar is a condition when glucose levels dip below 70.

If the fasting blood glucose level is between 100 to 125 mg/dL, a person may have impaired fasting glucose, also known as prediabetes.

Those with diabetes register a blood glucose level of above 126 mg/dL.

How to choose a blood glucose meter

Doctors and nurses have experience with an array of meters and can point you in the right direction.

You should also check the list of approved meters that your insurance company covers. Some meters may be expensive and insurance companies don’t always make allowances for these. You’ll have to pay for it yourself if your insurance doesn’t cover it.

How easy is it to use the meter?

Before using the meter, carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions. Some testing meters require more steps than others.

The numbers on the screen must be seen easily. The time it takes to have a reading is also important.

While a few seconds may seem inconsequential, this amount of time can add up when you have to test your blood sugar levels several times a day.

Is the meter simple to clean and maintain?

If you still have any concerns, you can look for a support hotline or call the manufacturer.

If you’re a first-timer at using an at-home meter, it is best to take the device to your doctor or pharmacist first and let them demonstrate how to use it.

Then let the doctor or nurse observe you doing a test to confirm you’ve got it right.

Device storage and special features

Keeping a record of your blood glucose numbers is important for long-term care. However, writing down the readings in a notebook may take up a lot of your time.

If you find it bothersome to keep a notebook of your blood sugar levels, look for a meter that has memory options.

This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com. It was reviewed by Dr Duyen Le. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.