Glucose meters have greatly progressed from when they were first introduced 45 years ago. The original glucose meters required an entire drop of blood (about 50 micro-liters) onto a reactive paper, waiting for 60 seconds, rinsing with water, and then comparing the color of the paper to a color chart. Today, glucose meters work much more efficiently and individuals can determine their blood glucose levels with minimal hassle. Although glucose meters have come a long way, it is sometimes difficult to determine which one is best due to the number of glucose meters on the market. When purchasing a glucose meter the accuracy offered by the device is a crucial factor to consider.
Glucose meters can work in two ways. First is the optical method that measures the reflected light to determine the blood glucose level. In this approach, a blood sample is obtained, placed on a test strip, and then a measured amount of light is shined on the sample. Then the amount of light that is reflected back is measured, indicating how much glucose is present in the blood sample. The more light is reflected, the higher the amount of glucose present in the blood. This technology is frequently found in the older glucose meters and the accuracy is somewhat inconsistent. Modern glucose meters, on the other hand, utilize electrostatic technology. In this method, the voltage level is measured using electrochemistry to calculate the blood glucose level. Here, a blood sample is placed on a test strip, and then the enzyme found on the test strip, Glucose Oxidase, removes one electron from the glucose, converting it into gluconolactone. The removed electron is read as a voltage by the meter and correlates to the blood glucose level. The more electrons present, the higher the voltage, and the greater the level of glucose in the blood. An even more advanced approach is dynamic electrochemistry. This method utilizes various sophisticated algorithms to calculate numerous measurements. This approach is highly accurate and consistent, taking into account variations in temperature and elevation issues. With this particular glucose meter, dirty fingers, double-dosing, insufficient blood sample size, and chemical interference do not greatly impact the blood glucose reading.
Selecting the proper glucose meter is a big feat. A high level of accuracy and consistency are likely to be the most important factors. This is because it is very important for an individual to have a correct blood glucose reading if they hope to keep their diabetes under control. WaveSense Keynote, the Abbott FreeStyle Flash and Ascensia by Bayer Contour have been found to be the most accurate glucose meters available of the market. These meters range from an 84% to 95.2% accuracy which is well above the standard glucose meter. Consistency is also very important because it correlates with how reliable the meter is. Again the WaveSense Keynote, the Abbott FreeStyle Flash, and Ascensia by Bayer Contour are the leaders in this category. When tested, most of these meters varied by less than 5%, a very tight spread in terms of glucose meter accuracy. When testing blood glucose, an individual must feel confident in the glucose meter they are using. Therefore, both accuracy and consistency weigh heavily on determining the quality of the meter.
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