Glucose meter

A Look at Glucose Meters

African woman using diabetes test kit
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Glucose monitoring device

Medical Specialties:

Endocrinology, Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition:

A glucose meter is a device used by diabetics at home to test their own blood glucose levels. Readings are often taken several times daily. These data help track blood glucose control in the short term; in contrast, A1C is a laboratory test that reflects blood glucose levels over recent months, a longer-term measure.

In Our Own Words:

A glucose meter, also called a glucose monitoring device, is a battery-operated meter that helps those with diabetes keep a daily record of their blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. Blood testing two to four times throughout a day is common. Users prick the finger and place a drop of blood on a special strip, which then ''reads" your blood sugar with the help of the electronic meter. Common testing times are before meals and at bedtime. A health care provider should give advice on testing times, goals for the levels, and levels that fall outside of the normal pattern.

More Information About Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a complicated disease that's influenced by a variety of metabolic issues. The cornerstone of diabetes is hyperglycemia or high blood sugar, which goes on to damage blood vessels, nerves and organs throughout the body. Some scary things that can happen because of diabetes include blindness, kidney failure and loss of lower limbs to amputation.

Type 2 diabetes also contributes to heart disease. Among many other symptoms and sequelae, diabetes can also cause nasty skin infections and foot ulcers as well as diabeticketoacidosis, a life-threatening emergency.

With diabetes, our bodies become resistant to insulin, a hormone that maintains the level of sugar in our blood and keeps it from getting to high.

Diabetes results in a relative, but not absolute, reduction in the production of insulin.  In other words, people with diabetes can't produce enough insulin to cover their needs, which is why people with diabetes who live long enough eventually get insulin injections. Other ways that diabetes is treated include exercise, healthy eating, blood-sugar monitoring (using a glucometer) and medications that lower blood glucose like metformin.

In the United States, nearly 1 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year. Diabetes affects all people regardless of race or ethnicity. Interestingly, recent studies suggest that Asian populations have a higher incidence of diabetes for reasons unclear.

Besides testing for hemoglobin A1C in the blood, the only other way to figure out whether diabetes treatment like metformin is working is by self-monitoring of blood glucose levels using a glucometer. Of note, well-controlled levels of blood sugar have been shown to decrease damage to blood vessels and nerves.

Ultimately, the goal of all diabetes treatment is to lower blood sugar levels to normal or nearly normal levels.

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