As the term ‘glucometer’ suggests, it is a battery operated meter that is used to measure the blood glucose levels in a person. It is a small and compact device that can be stored easily and can be carried anywhere so that it becomes easy for people suffering from diabetes mellitus to be able to keep a constant check on their blood sugar levels and control their diabetes. Ever since the glucometer has come into the picture, it has become a necessity for each and every family with a member suffering from this condition. With 25.8 million people suffering from this condition all across the globe, and the numbers still continuing to rise, it becomes very important to know how to use a glucometer to be able to live a healthy life by keeping a track on your blood glucose.
Instructions to Use a Glucometer
The first glucose enzyme electrode was invented in 1962 by Leland Clark and Ann Lyons. Over all these years, new advances and technological changes have been introduced in the glucometer to make it more user-friendly, fast, and accurate. Glucometers are available in many different brands, One Touch and Accu Check, being two of them. However, the usage of all of them are more or less the same. You can check the user’s manual and instructions to know exactly how to use your specific glucometer. The basic steps are mentioned as follows.
Get a Glucometer and Instructions Manual
The first step would be to sit in a relaxed place with your glucometer and carefully read the instructions manual. As I mentioned earlier, though the basic functioning of all the glucometers is more or less the same, the slight variation in the operation can be understood clearly by reading the user’s manual. So the first step would be to understand how your glucometer functions.
Wash Your Hands
Once you have read the user’s manual and understood what needs to be done, the next step would be to thoroughly wash your hands using an antiseptic soap. This would erase the possibilities of developing an infection in case you have been in contact with some unhygienic objects.
Place the Strips on the Glucometer
Now this step may vary from device to device. While there are some devices that need to be switched on first followed by the placement of the strip, there are other glucometers that are switched on as soon as you place the strip in it. There will be a marking asking you to place the strip, with the colored portion of the strip being at the top.
Take the Blood Sample with the Lancet
Normally, when you have placed the strip in the glucometer, the next step would be to place the blood sample on the strip so that it can read the blood sugar level. The sample size (amount of blood required) would vary from device to device, however, usually a drop of blood would suffice. Some models may indicate as to when to put the sample. Make sure you wipe the puncture site with disinfectant solution with the help of a cotton ball before you prick.
Record Your Readings
Once you have entered the blood sample, the device may take anywhere between 5-30 seconds. During the wait time, it may show indication like ‘wait…’ or ‘processing’. The blood sugar level may be expressed in mg/dL or mmol/l. Usually in countries like United States, France and India, blood glucose is measured in mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). It is advisable to record your glucometer readings in a notebook as it might be useful information for your doctor and yourself. Although the newer glucometers have an on-board memory which enables them to store your results automatically.
Discard the Used Strip and Lancet
You are never ever supposed to reuse the strip or the lancet. It would also be advisable to check the expiry date of the strip before using. If the strips have expired, they wouldn’t be effective. Don’t even use the same lancet again. It is not advisable.
Place the Glucometer in a Safe Place
If you want you can wipe the glucometer with a damp cloth (with no water dripping from the cloth) and then place it back into the box and store it in a cool and dry place where the temperature is not extreme in nature. Make sure you keep it out of the reach of children.
Though a glucometer can enable you to keep a constant check at your glucose levels in diabetes, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit your doctor on a regular basis. It is a very important part of diabetes management to actually be in constant touch with your doctor and get yourself tested on a regular basis. However, keeping a glucometer handy can actually help you keep a track of your fasting and postprandial readings, thereby minimizing the sudden occurrences of conditions like hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, both of which are the result of unmonitored blood sugar levels.