Accu-Chek Guide Glucose Test Strips

A glucose meter, also known as a blood glucose meter or glucometer, is a portable medical device used to measure the concentration of glucose (sugar) in a person's blood. These devices are an essential tool for individuals with diabetes, a chronic medical condition characterized by high blood sugar levels, as they help in monitoring and managing their condition effectively. Glucose meters play a crucial role in the daily lives of people with diabetes, allowing them to make informed decisions about their diet, medication, and lifestyle to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

The operation of a glucose meter typically involves a small lancet device to prick the skin and draw a tiny drop of blood, which is then placed on a disposable test strip. The test strip is inserted into the meter, which uses a chemical reaction to measure the glucose level in the blood sample. The result is displayed on a digital screen within seconds, usually in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L) units.

The top 9 Glucose meters

Product name Image Rating Pros Cons Best Price More information

TOP PICK
Accu-Chek Guide Glucose Test Strips

Accu-Chek Guide Glucose Test Strips 5 star review
  • Compact and easy to use
  • Bluetooth connectivity for data sharing
  • Large, easy-to-read display
  • Test strips can be relatively expensive
  • May require a larger blood sample
  • Some users report occasional error messages
Coming Soon!

AMAZONS PICK
Prodigy Glucose Monitor Kit

Prodigy Glucose Monitor Kit
  • Affordable and budget-friendly option
  • Large display with easy-to-read numbers
  • Provides both glucose and ketone testing
  • Test strips may not be as widely available
  • Some users experience occasional error messages
  • Not as feature-rich as more expensive options
Coming Soon!

BUDGET PICK
True Decor TrueMetrix Self Monitoring Blood Glucose Meter

True Decor TrueMetrix Self Monitoring Blood Glucose Meter
  • Affordable test strips
  • Quick and accurate results
  • Compact and portable design
  • Limited memory for storing readings
  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compact and portable design
Coming Soon!

OneTouch Blood Sugar Test Kit

OneTouch Blood Sugar Test Kit
  • Sleek and portable design
  • Quick results in 5 seconds
  • Option to track before and after meal glucose levels
  • Test strip costs can add up
  • Limited memory for storing readings
  • Some users find the display less intuitive
Coming Soon!

Contour Next EZ Diabetes Testing Kit

Contour Next EZ Diabetes Testing Kit
  • Simple and straightforward operation
  • Affordable test strips compared to some competitors
  • Excellent accuracy and reliability
  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • Smaller memory capacity for storing readings
  • Not as feature-rich as some other models
Coming Soon!

FreeStyle Freedom Lite Blood Glucose Meter

FreeStyle Freedom Lite Blood Glucose Meter
  • Compact and portable for on-the-go use
  • Quick and virtually painless testing
  • Large, easy-to-read display
  • Test strip costs can be high
  • Limited memory for storing readings
  • Some users experience difficulty with coding the meter
Coming Soon!

ACCU CHEK AVI-VA Sugar Test

ACCU CHEK AVI-VA Sugar Test
  • Reliable and accurate readings
  • Compact and durable design
  • Larger, easy-to-handle test strips
  • Test strips can be expensive
  • Limited memory for storing readings
  • Not as many advanced features as some other models
Coming Soon!

Bayer Contour Next ONE Glucose Monitoring System

Bayer Contour Next ONE Glucose Monitoring System
  • Affordable test strips
  • Quick results in 5 seconds
  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Some users report occasional inconsistency in readings
  • Limited memory for storing readings
  • No Bluetooth connectivity
Coming Soon!

Care Touch Blood Glucose Meter

Care Touch Blood Glucose Meter
  • Affordable and includes a variety of supplies
  • Quick results in 5 seconds
  • Comes with a carrying case for convenience
  • Test strips may have variable accuracy
  • Limited memory for storing readings
  • Some users find the lancet device less comfortable
Coming Soon!

The History of Glucose meters

Glucose meters came to the spotlight in the 1960s, a period marked by a growing recognition of the importance of closely monitoring blood glucose levels in individuals with diabetes.

Prior to the development of portable glucose meters, diabetes management was rudimentary and often imprecise. Patients relied primarily on urine tests, which were not only inconvenient but also lacked accuracy and timely feedback regarding blood sugar levels. This changed dramatically with the introduction of the first portable blood glucose meter.

The breakthrough came in 1962 when Leland C. Clark Jr., a biochemist, and inventor, presented the first glucose enzyme electrode at a New York Academy of Sciences meeting. This invention laid the groundwork for subsequent glucose meters. However, it wasn't until the 1970s that the first self-monitoring blood glucose device became available for patient use.

In 1970, Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, an engineer with diabetes, adapted a glucose analyzer used in hospitals to monitor his own blood glucose levels at home. This device, though bulky and expensive, revolutionized his own diabetes management and paved the way for portable devices. Recognizing its potential, he championed the cause for self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) among patients.

The first commercially available portable glucose meter was developed in the late 1970s by Ames Diagnostics, a division of Miles Laboratories. Named the Ames Reflectance Meter, it was initially intended for use in doctors' offices rather than for personal use by patients. This early meter was quite large compared to today’s standards, about the size of a book, and required a large drop of blood for an accurate reading.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, glucose meters underwent significant refinements. They became progressively smaller, more accurate, and more user-friendly. The requirement for smaller blood samples made the testing process less painful and more convenient. Features like memory storage to track readings over time and the ability to connect to computers for detailed data analysis were added.

The turn of the century saw further technological advancements. New models featured enhanced data storage, backlit screens for easier reading, faster processing times, and even the ability to speak readings aloud for users with visual impairments. In recent years, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems have gained prominence, providing real-time, dynamic glucose information without the need for fingerstick blood samples.

Components of Glucose meters

Glucose meters, also known as glucometers, are compact devices used for measuring blood glucose levels. They are crucial for individuals managing diabetes. The key components of most glucose meters include:
  • Main Unit - This is the body of the glucose meter, which houses the electronic components, display screen, and buttons. The main unit contains the circuitry to process and display the glucose reading.
  • Test Strips - These are disposable strips that play a crucial role in measuring blood glucose. Each strip contains chemicals that react with glucose in the blood. The reaction generates an electrical current that the meter reads and interprets as a glucose level.
  • Lancing Device - This is a small, pen-like instrument used to obtain a blood sample. It holds a lancet, which is a small, sharp needle that quickly and cleanly pricks the finger to draw a drop of blood.
  • Lancets - These are small, sharp needles used with the lancing device. They are designed for single-use to ensure hygiene and reduce pain and skin damage with each prick.
  • Control Solution - Some glucose meters come with a control solution, which is a liquid with a known glucose concentration. It's used to ensure that the meter and test strips are working properly and providing accurate readings.
  • Display Screen - The screen displays the blood glucose measurement, and in some models, it may show additional information like the date, time, and memory records.
  • Buttons or Touch Interface - These are used to navigate the meter's menu, set the date and time, view past results, and perform other functions.
  • Battery - Glucose meters are typically powered by batteries. The type and life of the battery depend on the meter model.
  • Memory and Data Management Features - Modern meters have built-in memory to store past readings. Some models can be connected to computers or smartphones for advanced data management, analysis, and sharing with healthcare providers.
  • Port for Test Strips - This is where the test strip is inserted into the meter. The meter detects when a strip is inserted and prepares to read the blood sample.
  • Carrying Case - Most glucose meters come with a case for easy and safe transportation of the meter, strips, lancing device, and lancets.

Who should use Glucose meters

Glucose meters are essential tools primarily used by individuals with diabetes, including both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, to monitor and manage their blood sugar levels. Here’s a summary of who should use glucose meters:
  • Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes - Since their bodies do not produce insulin, people with Type 1 diabetes must regularly monitor their blood glucose levels to determine how much insulin they need to inject to maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
  • Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes - Those with Type 2 diabetes, where the body doesn’t use insulin properly, also benefit from using glucose meters. Monitoring helps in managing diet, physical activity, and medications to keep blood sugar levels within a target range.
  • Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes - Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy need to monitor their blood sugar levels to protect the health of both mother and baby and to prevent complications during pregnancy and delivery.
  • People with Prediabetes - Individuals diagnosed with prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, may also use glucose meters to monitor and manage their blood sugar levels.
  • Individuals Using Insulin Therapy - Regardless of the type of diabetes, people who use insulin to control their blood sugar levels should regularly check their blood glucose to determine the correct insulin dosage.
  • Diabetes Patients Adjusting to New Medications or Treatment Plans - When a person with diabetes starts new medications or changes their treatment plan, they might need to monitor their blood glucose levels more closely to assess how well the new regimen is working.
  • Individuals Experiencing Frequent Blood Sugar Highs or Lows - Regular monitoring is crucial for individuals who experience frequent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) to ensure they can take prompt action to correct their blood sugar levels.

What Glucose meters are NOT intended for

While glucose meters are vital tools for individuals with diabetes and other related conditions, there are certain groups of people for whom the use of a glucose meter might not be necessary or recommended:
  • Healthy Individuals Without Diabetes - People without diabetes or any signs of prediabetes typically do not need to use glucose meters. Their bodies regulate blood sugar levels effectively, and routine monitoring is not necessary unless advised by a healthcare professional.
  • Individuals With Well-Controlled Diabetes Not Requiring Insulin - Some individuals with well-managed Type 2 diabetes, particularly those not on insulin or who don't experience blood sugar fluctuations, may not need to use a glucose meter as frequently, or at all, depending on their doctor's advice.
  • Individuals With Certain Medical Conditions - In some cases, other medical conditions may interfere with the accuracy of glucose meters. For example, severe dehydration or anemia can affect blood sugar readings. People with these conditions should consult their healthcare provider about the best way to monitor their blood sugar.
  • Those With Hematologic Conditions - Certain blood disorders, like sickle cell anemia or thalassemia, can sometimes interfere with the accuracy of glucose meter readings. Individuals with these conditions should discuss alternative monitoring methods with their healthcare provider.
  • People with a Known Allergy to Lancing Device Components - Although rare, if someone has an allergy to metals or other components used in lancing devices (for obtaining blood samples), they might need an alternative method for glucose monitoring.
  • Young Children - In general, very young children may not need to use a glucose meter unless they have been diagnosed with diabetes. The decision to use a glucose meter for a child should always be made in consultation with a pediatrician or pediatric endocrinologist.

Pros and Cons of Glucose meters

Pros

  • Provide accurate and immediate feedback on blood glucose levels, essential for managing diabetes.
  • Enable individuals to manage their diabetes more effectively by adjusting diet, exercise, and medication based on readings.
  • Regular monitoring helps in maintaining blood glucose levels within target ranges, reducing the risk of long-term diabetes complications.
  • Portable and easy to use at home, work, or on the go, providing flexibility in diabetes management.
  • Many meters store previous readings, allowing for tracking and analysis of blood sugar patterns over time.
  • Immediate knowledge of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), allowing for quick action to prevent emergencies.
  • Readings can be shared with healthcare providers, supporting telemedicine and remote diabetes management.
  • Advanced meters have features like alarms and reminders for checking blood sugar or taking medication.
  • Newer models offer features like Bluetooth connectivity, integration with smartphones, and even linking with insulin pumps.
  • Empowers individuals, especially older adults or those living alone, to manage their condition independently.

Cons

  • The cost of glucose meters and continuous purchase of test strips, lancets, and batteries can be significant, especially if not covered by insurance.
  • Some people may find it challenging to learn how to use the meter correctly and interpret the results.
  • Frequent finger pricking for blood samples can be uncomfortable and may lead to soreness or calluses.
  • Glucose meters require regular maintenance, calibration, and battery changes to ensure accuracy.
  • Factors like expired test strips, improper storage, or user error can affect the accuracy of readings.
  • Constant monitoring can be stressful and overwhelming, leading to anxiety or burnout in some individuals.
  • Users may become overly dependent on their device, potentially ignoring other important aspects of health like diet and physical activity.
  • Glucose meters provide a snapshot of blood glucose at a specific time, not a continuous overview, which can miss fluctuations.
  • Disposable test strips and lancets contribute to environmental waste.
  • Older adults or those not tech-savvy may face challenges in using modern, feature-rich glucose meters.

Studies regarding the benefits of Glucose meters

1. Title: Self-monitoring of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes: systematic review

Summary: This 2017 review by The Cochrane Collaboration analyzed 89 studies and found moderate-certainty evidence that self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) with meters improves glycemic control (HbA1c) in adults with type 2 diabetes, especially when combined with education and other interventions.

 

2. Title: Intensive Structured Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose and Glycemic Control in Noninsulin-Treated Type 2 Diabetes

Summary: Evaluate the added value of intensive self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), structured in timing and frequency, in noninsulin-treated patients with type 2 diabetes.

 

3. Title: Continuous glucose monitoring versus self-monitoring of blood glucose for managing type 1 diabetes in adults and children

Summary: This 2017 Cochrane review compared continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) with SMBG in type 1 diabetes. It found moderate-certainty evidence that CGM may offer greater improvements in HbA1c compared to SMBG, but the evidence for improved clinical outcomes like long-term complications is limited.

 

4. Title: Self-monitoring of blood glucose in type 1 diabetes: achieving glycemic control

Summary: This 2019 review article published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism discusses the role of SMBG in type 1 diabetes management, highlighting its importance in informing insulin adjustments and identifying trends in blood sugar levels.

 

5. Title: The impact of self-monitoring of blood glucose on diabetes knowledge, self-care behaviors, and glycemic control: A meta-analysis

Summary: This 2020 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine analyzed 23 studies and found that SMBG, particularly when combined with education and support, can improve diabetes knowledge, self-care behaviors, and glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.

 

6. Title: Self-monitoring of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes mellitus

Summary: This 2021 review article published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism discusses the controversy surrounding the role of SMBG in type 2 diabetes. While acknowledging its potential benefits, the article also explores limitations and emphasizes the need for individualized approaches based on patient characteristics and treatment goals.

 

7. Title: The role of self-monitoring of blood glucose in contemporary diabetes management

Summary: This 2021 review article published in Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy highlights the evolving role of SMBG in diabetes management. It emphasizes the importance of considering individual needs and integrating SMBG with other technologies and interventions for optimal outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions about Glucose Meters

What is a glucose meter and how does it work?

A glucose meter is a medical device used to measure the concentration of glucose in the blood. It works by using a small drop of blood, usually obtained from a finger prick, which is placed on a test strip inserted into the device. The glucose in the blood reacts with chemicals on the strip, producing an electrical current that the meter measures and converts into a blood glucose level reading displayed on the screen.

Why is it important to monitor blood glucose levels?

Monitoring blood glucose levels is crucial for managing diabetes. It helps individuals maintain their blood sugar within target ranges, preventing complications such as hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Regular monitoring can help adjust diet, medication, and physical activity to keep blood sugar levels stable, improving overall health and reducing the risk of long-term complications like cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and kidney failure.

How often should I check my blood glucose levels?

The frequency of blood glucose testing varies depending on the type of diabetes and individual health plans. Generally:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: Multiple times a day, including before meals, after meals, before and after exercise, and at bedtime.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Frequency can vary from daily to several times a week, based on whether you are on insulin or other medications.
  • Gestational Diabetes: Usually 4 times a day – fasting and after each meal. It’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.

What features should I look for in a glucose meter?

When choosing a glucose meter, consider the following features:

  • Accuracy: Ensure the meter meets FDA standards for accuracy.
  • Ease of Use: Look for a meter that is simple to operate with clear instructions.
  • Data Management: Some meters can store data and connect to apps or computers for tracking and analyzing trends.
  • Sample Size: Check how much blood is needed for a test; smaller samples are less painful.
  • Speed: Faster results can be more convenient, especially for frequent testing.
  • Cost: Consider the cost of the meter and test strips, as these can vary widely.
  • Insurance Coverage: Check if the meter and strips are covered by your insurance plan.

How do I ensure my glucose meter is accurate?

To ensure accuracy:

  • Calibrate if needed: Some meters require calibration with control solutions.
  • Use fresh strips: Ensure test strips are not expired and stored correctly.
  • Proper testing: Follow the instructions carefully for obtaining and applying the blood sample.
  • Regular maintenance: Keep the meter clean and check for damage.
  • Comparison: Periodically compare meter readings with lab results during routine check-ups.

Can medications or health conditions affect glucose meter readings?

Yes, certain medications and health conditions can affect glucose meter readings. Medications such as acetaminophen, uric acid, and high levels of Vitamin C can interfere with the accuracy of some glucose meters. Conditions like severe dehydration or anemia can also impact readings. Always inform your healthcare provider about all medications and conditions to ensure accurate interpretation of your results.

How do I properly dispose of used test strips and lancets?

Used test strips and lancets should be disposed of safely to prevent injury and contamination:

  • Sharps Container: Place used lancets in a proper sharps container. Do not reuse lancets.
  • Sealed Container: Used test strips can be placed in a sealed container before disposal.
  • Local Guidelines: Follow local regulations for disposing of medical waste. Some areas have specific disposal programs or drop-off points.

What should I do if my glucose meter malfunctions?

If your glucose meter malfunctions:

  • Refer to the Manual: Check the user manual for troubleshooting tips.
  • Check Batteries: Ensure the batteries are not dead and are properly installed.
  • Contact Support: Reach out to the manufacturer’s customer support for assistance.
  • Replacement: If the issue persists and the meter is still under warranty, it may be replaced by the manufacturer.

Can I share my glucose meter with others?

No, glucose meters should not be shared with others due to the risk of cross-contamination and infection. Each person should have their own meter and testing supplies. If a meter must be shared (in rare cases), it should be thoroughly disinfected between uses, but it is generally discouraged.

Are there alternative methods to monitor blood glucose levels?

Yes, there are alternative methods, including:

  • Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs): These devices measure glucose levels in real-time using a sensor placed under the skin. They provide continuous data and can alert users to high or low blood sugar levels.
  • Flash Glucose Monitoring: Similar to CGMs, these systems use a sensor but require scanning with a reader or smartphone to obtain glucose readings. These alternatives can provide more comprehensive glucose monitoring but may be more expensive and require a prescription.