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Which glucose meter to choose? - Diabetic Pregnancy

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November 18th, 2008

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08:57 am - Which glucose meter to choose?
One of the most important things for person with diabetes is to know what his or her blood sugar is, but with more than 100 different glucose meters on the market which one to choose? I started the search for a perfect device with establishing a set of criteria by which meter should be evaluated. In my mind, ideal device should:

- give accurate readings so we know when blood sugar is low and how much medicine to take;
- should require very small amount of blood (none would be the best, but with the exception of continuous glucose monitors which still require some fingersticks for calibration purposes we are not there yet, although active work in that direction and some available prototypes provide hope that one day these devices will become widespread);
- it would be great if it does not take eternity to see the results and having some memory to store those resutls would be a plus;
- finally, it should be a common enough meter, so the search for strips and lancets does not turn into nightmare and your insurance covers them, plus your doctor more likely to have software on his computer to download your readings.

With these in mind, I've conducted some research and here what I found out.

1. Accuracy - In 1987, the ADA recommended a goal for total error in the measurement less than 10%, which was subsequently revised to less than 5%. To date, however, there are no reports of glucose meters that meet this goal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires all meters to have an error rate of less than 20% of the reference value when glucose is above 100 mg/dL, and within 20 mg/dL when glucose is less than 100 mg/dL. However, accuracy of the measurement depends not only on device itself, but also depends on the user and some external factors such as temperature, humidity, altitude, etc. One of the most common mistakes that I see in practice, however, is miscoding of the meter, ie when the code on the bottle of test-strips does not correspond to a code set on the meter. Many of the current glucose meters do not require from the user to manually enter that code. Some of those meters are - FreeStyle Lite and FreeStyle Freedom Lite from Abbott, Ascensia Countour and Breeze from Bayer, NovaMax from NovaBiomedical.

2. Small sample size. Not only it means less blood from the finger, but also makes it easier to do alternative site testing like from your forearm or palm of your hand. FreeStyle Lite and FreeStyle Freedom Lite, and NovaMax require the smallest amount of 0.3 microliter; Accu-Check Aviva and Ascensia Countour need 0.6 microliter; OneTouch Ultra products will need 1 microliter of blood to provide you with the measurement result.

3. Speed and memory. All of the mentioned above meters provide results in 5 seconds and store from 150 to 500 of the last results in the memory. OneTouch UltraSmart keeps up to 3,000 measurements in its memory.

4. Insurance coverage and cost. This one may vary significantly depending on your insurance provider and geographical region. Most likely you will not have significant problems finding supplies for OneTouch meters from Johnson and Johnson, Ascensia meters from Bayer, and FreeStyle strips from Abbott.

Considering all of the above, I like Freestyle Lite, FreeStyle Freedom Lite, and Ascensia Contour.

There are, however, special circumstances when other meters can become a better fit for you.

If you have Type 1 diabetes and would like to check for both glucose and ketones using the same meter, you might like Abbott Precision Xtra Blood Glucose Meter.

If you would like to have a small simple device without too many extra bells and whistles, OneTouch UltraMini may be is what you are looking for.

If you don't want to handle individual test strips, try Breeze 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System with 10-strip disk which goes inside of the meter. Good for people with arthritis in their hands.

If you have Medtronic Paradigm insulin pump, you might want OneTouch UltraLink which wirelessly transmits blood sugar reading to your pump. If you have Animas insulin pump, then get OneTouch Ping, which not only will transmit blood sugar reading into your pump, but also will allow you to administer your bolus without touching a pump.

If you have difficulties reading the result from the meter screen, there are talking glucose meteres. One of them Advocate Redi-Code - does not require coding, needs only 0.7 microliter of blood, gives result in 4 seconds and speaks in English or Spanish.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 18th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
How long have you had diabetes? Personally I've had it for 18 years so I've had a lot of experience with meters and honestly, after that much time it really doesn't make muche difference for me which one I use. All of the well know name brands- AccuChek, OneTouch, Fresstyle are very reliable and easy to use.

I use Freestyle because its the meter attached to my pump. If you have a pump, you know which meter you can use with yours since its usually attached. I am in the process of accquiring a CGMS also.

But thank you for your post, it might be helpful to some new diabetics.
[User Picture]
Date:November 18th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
PS: You might want to post this in one of the larger diabetes communities (diabetes or insulin_whores as this is a pretty small community revolving around diabetes and pregnancy specifically and most of us have been diabetic for quite a while.

[User Picture]
Date:November 19th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your comments!

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