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What is a Portable Glucose Meter?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A glucose meter is a device that is used to test the level of glucose or sugar in your blood. A portable glucose meter is a handy, battery operated model that is small enough to carry with you. To use a glucose meter properly, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Many kits include a telephone number that you can call for technical support.

Ask your doctor which type of glucose meter is right for you. Certain meters allow you to test your blood in areas other than the fingertip, which can be more comfortable for some people. However, many doctors prefer the fingertip method as it may give a more accurate glucose reading.

Choosing a glucose meter does not have to be difficult, though there are more than two dozen models available, each of which offer many convenient features. Some require less blood collection in order give an accurate reading. One type of glucose meter, considered extremely convenient, no longer requires test strips but uses a "drum" mechanism instead. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist to narrow the list by recommending just a few meters from which you can choose, keeping comfort and budget in mind.

Whichever glucose meter you decide on, keep it clean, and when strips are required, use the appropriate strips for the best results. It is important to test your blood sugar regularly. Presenting your healthcare provider with frequent and accurate glucose readings helps him or her monitor the disease as well as adjust the level of medication you need.

If you are not sure how often you should test your blood, follow the guidelines offered by the American Diabetes Association. The Association recommends testing at least three times each day for people suffering from type 1 diabetes, and while there is no suggested testing schedule for those with type 2 diabetes, there are some general rules to keep in mind:

  • It is best to test your blood sugar before a meal, and again one or two hours after a meal to compare glucose levels.
  • It is important to use your glucose meter any time you feel that your sugar is high or low.
  • If the doctor changes your medication or dosage, it is a good idea to test more often so your doctor can study the affects of the medication on your glucose levels.

Diabetes can have very serious complications. Incorporating a testing schedule into your daily routine is a necessary element in regulating the disease and safeguarding your health.

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Discussion Comments

By lonelygod — On May 23, 2011

If you are newly diabetic and learning to test for the first time, have your doctor show you how to use your glucose meter. Your doctor may also have some good recommendations for which one is best for your situation when you purchase your own.

My mother finds when she her fingers get sore from testing that you can use an ice cube to numb the finger for a bit before you clean it. This will really help with the sting and can also prevent any swelling that might occur.

It is also a good idea to rotate the fingers you use for testing. This will prevent any one from taking too much damage.

By manykitties2 — On May 22, 2011

If you are considering a portable glucose meter and find that the testing is painful, there are newer meters available that come with much tinier lancets.

These new meters can read better with even a small amount of blood, and with the need for less of a cut it can be a lot better for those who need to test and are sensitive to the process.

Ask your doctor about this option next time you are in his or her office. These newer meters are a bit more expensive, but for the reduction in pain you might find it worthwhile.

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