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Essential Guide to Glucometer Strips – What People With Diabetes Should Know

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Today, glucometer is a household name. Its importance can be gauged by the fact that millions of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes from across the globe use this handy machine to monitor their blood sugar levels. Interestingly, one of the essential components of portable glucometer kits is the test strips, which made their first appearance in 1964 (mostly used in labs), while the portable device came into existence six years later, in 1970. The test strips have several synonyms, such as glucose test strips or simply “glucometer strips”.

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Buying test strips has never been so easy –

In these contemporary times, glucometer and its test strips can be easily bought online with just a few mouse clicks or as an OTC product. Many start-ups provide supplementary services for people with diabetes, such as personalized care from top doctors, certified health coaches, and nutrition analysts, helping these individuals prevent, manage, and reverse diabetes. BeatO, an award-winning enterprise featured in BBC and boasting more than a million members, is one such entity.

Essential guide to glucometer strips –

Remember, a diabetes kit contains several items. This includes test strips, too. This blog is an essential guide to glucometer strips –

Introduction to Glucometer Strips – Your Key Tool in Diabetes Management

As mentioned earlier, glucose test strips form an essential component of any diabetes kit, which in turn are manufactured by a host of reputed pharmaceutical companies and sold under trusted brand names.

Incidentally, these strips are made from a bouquet of materials and embedded with highly sophisticated electro-medical technology. While the basic shell is made from plastic, the top layer consists of porous fabric (polyamide or cellulose). Its design also includes elastomer, Nano electrical circuitry, and a mechanism that converts electrical pulses into readable numbers.

How Glucometer Strips Work – Unveiling the Science Behind Blood Sugar Testing

When a drop of blood is placed on the test strip, the glucose present in the blood immediately reacts with an essential enzyme embedded in the strip, producing Gluconic Acid. This reactive product generates pulses carried forward to the end of the strip inside the device, which reads these signals. The logic is really simple—the faster the pulses, the greater the presence of glucose. The device then converts these impulses into human-readable numbers. Remember, the level of glucose present in the blood will determine the strength/speed of electrical signals, affecting the final result. No wonder, then, glucometer test strips are called Nano miracles.

Knowledge Tip – Another test strip, and quite unique, does not need a device. A drop of blood is set up on the “reactive” side, and then, after a predetermined time, the same is wiped off. The resultant change in the colour of the strip is then matched with the chart provided by the manufacturing company to determine the blood sugar level.

Why Accurate Readings Matter – The Critical Role of Glucometer Strips in Diabetes Care

Accuracy can prevent short and long-term risks and also reduce emergency situations. Faulty devices, damaged strips, or incorrect handling/measurement can often produce faulty results, which in turn can be quite detrimental to your fight against diabetes. Inaccurate readings can infuse a sense of complacency, especially when the blood sugar reading suddenly / abruptly drops. In the long run, it can affect vital organs and increase the chance of cardiovascular diseases. Incorrect readings can also result in short-term medical upheavals. For example, a faulty high blood sugar level signal can force you to increase your dosage/insulin. This can lead to hypoglycemia, a condition synonymous with weakness, increased pulse rate, and confusion.

Choosing the Right Sugar Check Strips – Factors to Consider for Optimal Results

As mentioned above, apart from the machine, test strips play an important role in fetching correct readings; therefore, choosing the right glucometer strip is paramount. So, what are some essential factors you should consider before ordering? Make sure you buy strips that complement/support your manufacturer/device. As a person with diabetes, you should also look into the expiry date of the test strips. Avoid those that are nearing their end of usage. Quite often, test strips which are about to expire throw up inaccurate readings.

It is advisable to look into the following for hassle-free diabetes monitoring –

  • Easy availability
  • A bouquet of value pack sizes
  • Ease of conducting a dummy test
  • Offline and online availability
  • Glucometer strips’ price is competitive

Compatibility with Your Glucometer Device – Ensuring a Seamless Testing Experience

Compatibility is a big issue, and therefore, you need to double-check if the test strips match your device’s in-built algorithms. Although manufacturers often mention brands that are harmonious with their strips, conducting a dummy test is always a good idea. Once conducted, compare the results with those mentioned on the container. Before hitting the buy button (online) or picking it up from a brick-and-mortar shop, read the user’s guide or confirm with the pharmacist.

Understanding Coding – Auto-Coding and Manual Coding Strips Explained

One of the critical situations many people with diabetes face is inaccurate reading. It sets in panic and infuses a sense of fear. To avoid this, ensure you wed your device and the strip through the calibration process. It simply means that both the device and the glucose test strips are on the same page and free from prior settings. While some of the devices auto-calibrate through the auto-coding technique, some devices demand user intervention. Remember to calibrate your device every time you open a new test strip box. Here are the typical steps –

  1. Enter the chip into the device / or enter the code.
  2. Depending on your input, the device will accept the new code (calibration achieved) or display the code on the screen. Tally this number with that on the box label.


Read More: The Role of Glucometer Strips in Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems

Conclusion – Monitoring blood sugar levels is extremely important for people with type-1 and gestational diabetes. Folks from these categories need to perform frequent checks. People with type-2 diabetes need to conduct several tests every day. In such a scenario, glucometer test strips form a crucial span between you and the machine. While the machine is mostly bought once, the test strips need frequent replenishing. Follow the above guide to make your test strip buying journey comfortable and error-free.

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Sakshi Poptani

Sakshi Poptani

As a Content strategist, I have a keen eye for storytelling, brand marketing and community management. I have worked across three sectors - hospitality, technology and healthcare. They have evolved me as a writer and helped me bridge the gaps between storytelling and brand management. I have an unwavering aim of reaching out to as many people as I can. I want to enhance the perspective and insights of both my readers and my own self as I tread further in my journey.

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