Diabetes monitoring technologies are evolving; slowing but surely. The idea is to make the life of people with diabetes and those bordering this emotionally draining disease stress-free. However, empowering individuals through the use of innovative materials, designs, Nano-electronics, and sciences (Diagnostic Test Analysis) in glucometer machine and blood glucose strips shouldn’t be overwhelming for patients as well as healthcare professionals. Pharmaceutical companies need to focus on the optimal use of technologies, especially diabetes test strips, to achieve cost-effectiveness, and also to provide precise blood sugar monitoring solutions.
As mentioned above, one of the essential components of blood glucose monitoring or BGM is the test strip. Incidentally, diabetes strips are highly complex, layered, and an amalgamation of nanotechnologies and chemical compositions. These strips are expensive too. And therefore, cost reduction without affecting the glycaemic variability (measurement) and robustness can go a long way in making the lives of people with diabetes a little less overwhelming.
Remember, if the glucometer is the heart of BGM then the glucose strip is the soul.
The Vital Role of Glucometer Strips in Diabetes Care
BGM is the first line of defence for people with diabetes. It arms such individuals with a real-time reading of their glucose levels. Its importance cannot be overstated because people with diabetes rely on the resultant readings to fine-tune their regime and develop a relevant systematic plan. While the device itself rarely fails or malfunctions, blood test strips are highly susceptible to a host of factors such as the storage environment, handling, and compatibility issues. Moreover, its highly complex structure and embedded technologies makes it all the more vulnerable. It is because of this susceptibility that regulatory bodies such as the FDA recommend readings that are +/- 15–20% of “Actual” measurement. Interestingly, BGM also forms an integral part of individuals who use CGMs as their primary source for diabetes management.
Selecting the Right Glucometer Strips – Factors to Consider
Diabetes is a highly sensitive ailment. For example, a change in regime, workout duration, stress, and associated medical upheavals can drastically impact the blood sugar levels. Hence, regular monitoring is extremely crucial, especially if you are planning to make some changes to your daily lifestyle. Apart from a glucometer, you will need a continuous supply of diabetes strips. However, this is easier said than done. And the reason is because these strips are quite specific in nature. In simple terms, they need to be compatible with your glucose machine. Mentioned below are some of the factors you need to consider while buying a new pack of strips –
- Whether calibration is required or not
- Is the test solution a part of this pack
- Number of test strips per container/box
- Expiry period
- Insurance coverage
- Sugar test strips price
- Easy availability (online and offline)
And last but the most important factor is compatibility. Make sure you read the enclosed manual and verify if the strip is harmonious with your device.
Mastering Accurate Testing – Tips for Effective Glucometer Strip Usage
As a diabetic or a pre-diabetic, you should follow the below-mentioned steps for fetching accurate results.
Before Testing –
- Make sure you wash and wipe your hands dry.
- Clean the device and the slot which holds the strip with alcohol (medical swabs).
- If you have just opened a new pack of strips make sure you do a dummy test and match the code for accuracy ( optional – if there is a provision ).
During Testing –
- Remove a fresh glucose strip.
- Fetch a brand-new lancet pen and prick your index finger ( recommended ).
- Transfer a drop of blood on this strip.
- Insert the strip into the glucometer.
- Power on the machine.
- Post use; dispose of the strip safely, away from human/children’s reach.
Important – Make sure you provide enough blood otherwise the device may throw up incorrect readings.
Device Compatibility – Ensuring Seamless Integration
At the very outset before buying a new pack of blood test strips make sure you read the manufacturer’s manual and/or check the list of compatible brands. If you are still unsure ask the pharmacist ( if you are buying from an offline store ) or post a question in case you have opted for an online outlet. Remember, there is no point matching the dimensions, or compatibility after opening the box. Chances are, the “Returns” option may not be applicable.
Post-buying, you need to either calibrate or run a mock test with the test solution. Most of the manufacturers provide this feature. Glucometer strips are sensitive and delicate. Forcing them into your device or manipulating them can be disastrous as well as catastrophic because you will get faulty readings.
Troubleshooting Glucometer Strip Challenges – Solutions for Common Issues
If you are a person with diabetes, and a regular user of glucometer, you may have setup your own rules to get accurate results and/or troubleshoot device / diabetes strip issues. However, for those who are new to diabetes and diabetes management tools, the following guide can make a big difference in troubleshooting glucometer strip challenges.
- Always make sure that the strip is free from dirt, grime, and oil stains.
- Torn/partially damaged strip will not suffice.
- Clean the device slot ( glucose strip seat ) regularly.
- Store the strips in a cool and dry place.
- Never expose the strip box to sunlight.
- Get the device serviced if none of the above work.
Finally, make sure that your strip has not expired as it can throw up inaccurate reading.
Self-monitoring of Blood Glucose (SMBG) has revolutionized the way people around the world manage their diabetes. Technological advances have truly empowered people with diabetes. However, overwhelmingly complex additions to the existing system (device & blood test strips) can prove to be counterproductive as people with diabetes of the older age group may find it mentally and intellectually draining. Moreover, even healthcare professionals may find such complex technologies difficult to interpret and manage.
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