Diabetes today is not a verdict. Patients with this diagnosis can live fully, observing certain rules and recommendations of their doctor. One such rule is a constant control of blood sugar levels, which avoids its sharp declines or rises. Instant identification of elevated sugar levels makes it possible to take the necessary measures in time. Also, maintaining optimal levels of sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin in the blood significantly reduces the likelihood of developing complications of diabetes.
But how to perform these measurements if visits to specialized laboratories several times a day do not contribute to the patient’s full life? The answer is simple: people diagnosed with diabetes need a glucometer. A compact device for measuring sugar levels in organic liquids (blood, liquor, etc.) allows one to carry out regular measurements in any conditions. Today, a huge selection of glucometers differs from functional characteristics, sizes, cost, and other parameters. MedAboutMe will tell you what types of glucometers patients can use to measure sugar levels and what factors may influence home research.
How did the glucometers come about?
At the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, special test strips were used to change the sugar level. It is worth noting that the material for analysis was both the blood and urine of the patient. Evaluation of the results using such test strips was carried out, as they say on the eye, so their reliability was relative. Special devices for analysis of test strips, called glucometers, appeared in the 70s of the last century. The sugar level was determined by a reflexogenic method, i.e., by assessing the force of reflected light emanating from the colored test strip. The first glucometer weighed more than 1 kg and was only available to medical professionals.
The first portable glucose meter for personal use was invented in 1985 by the American company LifeScan, which later became part of the well-known Corporation Johnson’Johnson. Under her leadership in 1992, a personal model of the Glucometer OneTouch II, which received the Endocrinological Research Center RAMN and in 1993 became available to Russian patients, entered the world market. The first domestic glucometer was a device called “Satellite” developed by Elta.
To date, the range of glucometers is simply amazing. Its variety allows each patient to select a device with the most appropriate parameters.
Types of glucometers and what parameters should be considered when choosing them?
The main types of glucometers are photometric and electrochemical devices.
- In photometric glucometers, blood sugar is determined by the degree of coloration of the test strip. But the use of such devices, as they say, is a relic of the past. After all, if the underperndity of the shade of the test strip is obtained due to the study, the patient can incorrectly calculate the drug dosage and cause his health even more harm.
- Electrochemical glucometers work based on determining the magnitude of the current produced by glucose reaction with substances contained in the test strip itself. Different types of such devices assess sugar levels when studying plasma or peripheral blood. Electrochemical glucometers allow getting quite accurate results, independent of the influence of external factors.
The newest generation in the world of glucometers is the so-called Romanov machines. This is a fairly promising solution that is still under development. Romanov glucometers are designed for non-invasive measurement of blood sugar by spectrometry and laser scanning of the skin on the patient’s palm.
Different models of modern glucometers have many differences. So, choosing a device for personal use, you need to pay attention to:
- The size and shape of the device. If you need to carry a glucometer with you constantly, you should prefer compact devices that can easily fit in your pocket or bag.
- The rate at which blood sugar is determined. This indicator in different models of glucometers can vary within 3-60 seconds. If the patient needs to take blood sugar measurements daily, it is better to choose faster models of portable measurements.
- The memory of the device. Memorizing the results of studies obtained over a certain period of time allows determining the trend of increasing sugar in the patient. Some glucometers can memorize the results from 30 to one and a half thousand measurements. The more research you need to do, the more memory the device needs to have.
- The amount of material needed for analysis. With frequent measurements, children and the elderly are better off acquiring glucometers that require a minimum amount of blood for analysis.
- Additional features. If the glucometer is purchased for visually impaired or blind patients, you should choose devices with additional voice support functions.
In addition, the main indicator to be taken into account when choosing a glucometer is its accuracy. The accuracy of the glucometer means the proximity of the result to the supporting value of glucose concentration. When patients with type 1 diabetes are given inflated data, they risk injecting an excess insulin dose into the body. This can lead to the development of hypoglycemia and, as a result, hypoglycemic coma. When receiving low-level indicators and, accordingly, introducing an insufficient dose of insulin, the body may develop hyperglycemia, leading to ketoacidosis and hyperglycemia coma. In both cases, such conditions are deadly. That is why, choosing a glucometer, it is necessary to pay attention not only to the accuracy stated by the manufacturer but also to the data of independent expert tests.
It is worth noting that the glucometer used should be checked, measuring the sugar level simultaneously as blood donation in the laboratory.
Places to collect blood
As a rule, blood to determine the level of sugar in it is taken from the finger. But today, different kinds of glucometers can take material for analysis and from other parts of the body. This can be the shoulder, forearm, hip, or base of the thumb. But it should be taken into account that the blood sugar level taken from the tip of the finger may differ from the results of studies of the material obtained from another part of the body. This is because the fingertips react most quickly to changes in the quantitative glucose content. This feature allows you to instantly determine the patient’s condition, for example, immediately after eating or exercise.
Unusual developments for diabetics
To improve the standard of living of patients with diabetes and reduce the risk of complications of this disease, research is constantly underway to develop the most accurate and easy-to-use glucometers. For example:
- Ukrainian scientists have developed a glucometer, working based on infrared radiation. This device is attached to the earlobe, equipped with an alarm device, and can monitor the results of measurements for several hours.
- The glucometer bracelet combines a syringe for injection and a direct sugar meter. Such a device can memorize the latest measurements, making them available to the user at any time. According to the author of this device, the bracelet can calculate the insulin dose needed for administration.
The surprising facts can be noted a special method of training dogs, which can determine the glucose level by smell and notify the host about the possible development of dangerous conditions.