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Blood Glucose Meters

Blood Glucose Meter and Lancets

Blood glucose meters measure and display a person’s blood sugar level at a single moment in time. 

Blood glucose meters are crucial tools for managing diabetes as they allow you to track fluctuations in blood sugar levels. To use a blood glucose meter, insert a test strip, prick your finger with a lancing device to draw blood, and then put a small drop of blood onto the test strip. The meter will give a blood glucose reading in mg/dL (U.S. standard) or mmol/L (European standard). 

A blood glucose level under 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L) is considered hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). A level over 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) is considered hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia may be potentially dangerous situations where blood sugars are out of the normal range. Fast-acting carbohydrates may be needed (in the case of low blood sugar) or insulin (in the case of high blood sugar) for those being treated with insulin. 

What supplies do you need?

To monitor your blood sugar, these supplies are required:

  • Blood glucose meter
  • Test strips
  • Lancet (used to prick fingers for blood)

Nowadays, most meters are coupled with smartphone apps to monitor data.

How to choose a blood glucose meter

There are many types of blood glucose meters available. Blood glucose meters measure blood sugar at a specific moment in time. The perks of using blood glucose meters are they're easy to use and offer a range of features including:

  • Variability in screen size and backlit screens to make reading results easier
  • Compatibility with Bluetooth so you can transmit glucose readings to a smartphone app
  • Large buttons and audio playback for people with reduced eyesight
  • Some measure other health parameters like blood pressure and ketones

There are many different types of glucose meters. Common brands include:

  • Ascensia Contour Next ONE
  • Accu-Check Guide
  • CareSens N Blood Glucose Monitor Kit
  • FreeStyle Freedom Lite
  • Advocate Redi-Code Glucose Meter
  • True Metrix Air 

Other things to keep in mind

Blood glucose meters and test strips are medical devices regulated by the FDA. Make sure you get yours from a reputable source. Always use new test strips; never buy secondhand or pre-owned strips. Do not use expired test strips as they could yield inaccurate results. Improper storage can also affect the accuracy of test strips – always store them in a dry, cool place.

Learn more about diabetes devices here: