Oct 06 2010

What is A Glucometer (Glucose Meter)?

A blood glucose meter is often called a glucometer or glucose meter or sugar meter. Glucometer is fundamentally a medical device which measures the concentration of glucose in human blood.
A glucometer is a key element of home blood glucose monitoring (HBGM) by people with diabetes mellitus or hypoglycemia. A glucometer provides results right away, letting the diabetes patient know whether his glucose level is higher than desired, lower than expected, or within an acceptable range of levels.
Normal readings before a meal are 70 to 120mg/dL. Readings after a meal should be under 180mg/dL. Readings below 70mg/dL indicate hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Readings above 180mg/dL indicate hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.
Monitoring your blood glucose (blood sugar) level can help you take better care of your diabetes. Checking your blood glucose will help you learn how food, activity levels, medicine and insulin affect your blood glucose level. This information will help you control your blood glucose and prevent or delay diabetic complications such as kidney failure and blindness.

There are different types of glucometers, but they all perform the same job. Some glucometers have needles al-ready installed. The user only presses the release button and the meter ejects the needle prick and withdraws a blood sample. Other types require a separate lancet and test strips. These are the most commonly used forms of glucose kits.
A glucometer typically has a LCD display at the top of the device. In the middle towards the bottom is a slot in which to fit the test strip. Underneath this slot is a sensor that transmits the readout from the blood sample. The device has a memory built in to store the glucose readings. Some devices can be connected to a personal computer to track the measurement data and printout charts depicting the measurement history.

How A Gulcometer Works?
To test for glucose with a typical glucometer, place a small sample of blood on a test strip and place the strip in the device slot. The test strips are coated with chemicals (glucose oxidase, dehydrogenase, or hexokinase) that react with glucose in blood. The glucometer measures how much glucose is present. Glucometers do this in different ways. Some glucometers measure the amount of electricity that can pass through the sample. Other types of glucometer measure how much light reflects from it. The glucometer displays the glucose level as a number in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimol per liter (mmol/L) . Several new models can record and store a number of test results. Some models can connect to a personal computer to store or copy the test results or print them out.

Side Effects
Most glucometers require patients to prick their fingers to draw blood in order to get a reading. Pricking the body particularly on the finger tips can be painful, however, as this area can be very sensitive. Some glucometers allow the patient to prick another part of the body, such as forearms, instead.

Accuracy of glucose meters is a common topic of clinical concern. Blood glucose meters must meet accuracy standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). However, a variety of factors can affect the accuracy of a test. Factors affecting accuracy of various meters include calibration of meter, ambient temperature, amount and quality of blood sample, high levels of certain substances (such as ascorbic acid) in blood, hematocrit, cleanliness of meter, humidity, and aging of test strips.

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