There was a time when a diabetes test required the concerned individual to visit the nearest lab. Today that is history, well, almost. Millions of people with diabetes and folks suspected of having diabetes / pre-diabetes use blood sugar machines to get instant results. Although diabetes is an emotionally overwhelming illness, intuitive and innovative blood sugar test kits have transformed human lives for the good.
Although glucometer is one of the most popular test kits, advancements in medical science and nanotechnologies have helped innovators around the globe develop hands-free / finger-prick-free kits. We shall talk about them later. While traditional blood sugar devices use a test strip soaked in an enzyme and demand the user to transfer a drop of blood onto the strip to fetch the reading, the new-age kits do not require a blood sample.
Understanding Blood Sugar Levels – The Foundation of Effective Diabetes Management
Glucose monitoring not only offers real-time blood sugar levels but also helps people with diabetes and pre-diabetics choose the right foods, the right exercises, and the right lifestyle options. Its long-term benefits include the prevention of diabetes-related complications such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetic retinopathy, and organ damage. Today, even sportsmen and women use sugar-level testers to enhance their field performance. The idea is to optimise glucose levels before the competition. People with diabetes, on the other hand, have a completely different objective.
Types of Blood Sugar Tests – Exploring the Variety of Kits Available
Blood sugar tests can be categorised as –
- Fasting and Post Meal – This is a standard test for individuals who exhibit diabetes symptoms and is also initiated for routine monitoring, especially those who are afflicted with type-2 variants.
- Glucose Tolerance – This test is often recommended for people with type-2 diabetes and women with gestational diabetes. Either way, the test is conducted to see the concerned individual’s response to a sudden intake of sugar.
- A1C – While the above tests are either exploited to diagnose or monitor diabetes, A1C is a lab-based test that offers average glucose value in your blood over a three-month timeline. The test is helpful for type-1 and type-2 patients as it provides the effectiveness of diabetes management/diabetes control programs.
Traditional vs. Advanced Kits – Comparing Accuracy and Convenience
There is no comparison between the traditional and advanced blood sugar test kits. While glucometer, one of the traditional options exploited by millions of people with diabetes around the world, is easy to use, provides real-time results, and cost-effective, advanced kits (CGM & FGM) typically cost a bomb, difficult to manage and maintain, and also lack in terms of providing actual results (the readings are 15 minutes old). Moreover, glucometers are more accurate than advanced kits. However, advanced kits are prick-free, offer continuous monitoring features, and you can hook the device to your smartphone, share data with your healthcare advisor, etc.
Smart Technology Integration – How Digital Features Enhance Blood Sugar Monitoring
Medical devices are getting smarter each day. The traditional glucometer is no different. However, due to its inherent design, structural limitations, and invasive technology, it cannot be expected to provide smart features. Some of the current breed of digital (traditional) and smart blood sugar kits includes –
- Diabetes Test Machine / Digital Sugar Machine – It allows you to transfer a drop of blood on a test strip, and voila, your real-time glucose value is shown on the screen. The large display, crystal clear fonts, affordability, and easy handling make it a popular choice with people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, and even certain sports enthusiasts.
- Smart Technology Devices – CGMs (Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) and FGMs (Flash Glucose Monitoring System) are new-age, innovative, technologically advanced, and feature-rich devices. While CGM is partly invasive, FGM is 100% non-invasive as it uses light to access Interstitial Fluid located in the body tissue.
User Experience Matters – Evaluating the Ease of Use in Different Kits
As mentioned above, CGM and FGM use Bluetooth technology to send and share readings/data, making them extremely user-friendly and a perfect choice for a person with type-1 diabetes who needs round-the-clock monitoring and warnings when they run short of insulin. Glucometer tends to be the choice of people with type-2 diabetes/ pre-diabetes for its ease of handling and affordability factors. Even so, the final decision is your medical guide.
Selecting the appropriate blood sugar test kit depends on the concerned individual’s diabetes status, diabetes variant, financial standing (blood sugar test machine price is quite prohibitive), and device availability. Since CGMs and FGMs (Flash Glucose Monitoring) depend on Interstitial Fluid to fetch the blood glucose value, they tend to offer less accurate readings than invasive devices, such as traditional glucometers. Interestingly, glucometers use capillary action to perform the test. However, even that minuscule inaccuracy factor is fading with rapid technological breakthroughs. The rule of thumb set by the FDA is really simple: your “At Home” reading should hover around 15% of the lab value 95% of the time.
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