Metabolic Health
Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Glucometer Accessories For Diabetes Monitoring

People with diabetes need to check their blood glucose levels very often throughout the day. For this, they generally need a glucometer, an electronic device that measures the amount of glucose present in the blood. 

There are different types of glucometers available in the market and these are mostly a one time investment only. Although, the accessories that come along with the glucometer will have to be purchased repeatedly, depending on the usage and frequency of monitoring. These glucometer accessories include things like glucometer testing strips, lancing pens and lancets which make it super easy to measure blood glucose at home. Depending on the glucometer model, these accessories may vary as some kits come with more or less tools but these are the basic items that come in an at home glucometer kit. 

Most of these are readily available at pharmacies and online as well which makes it super easy to make a purchase. All the accessories have different features, uses and importance so let's take a look at those as they will help you pick the right glucometer for your needs. 

Blood Glucose Test Strips

Glucometer accessories consist of diabetes test strips or glucose test strips which are an easy way to test blood sugar. These strips collect blood and with the help of the glucometer, analyze and assess the blood sugar levels in a person with diabetes. The test strips are fairly easy to use, they just have to be placed into the glucometer and a drop or two of blood need to be deposited on the edge of the strip by piercing the finger’s tip with a lancet.

One strip can be used only one time and a new strip has to be used everytime you want to measure your blood glucose levels. Diabetes test strips are densely packed with technology. A very thin coating of gold is applied to the plastic strips. The gold is carved into a pattern that serves as the circuit for the strip.

A chemical coating is also applied to one end of the strip. They act like sponges, sucking up your blood and converting the glucose into electricity. The strip sends an electrical signal to the meter. The speed of the electrical current is indicated by the number on the meter. A higher blood sugar level indicates a stronger signal. A stronger signal corresponds to a greater reading on your blood glucose meter.

Also read more about how to test diabetes at home.

Blood Glucose Test Strips Plus Lancets

There are various glucometers on the market that come with test strips and lancets combined. These lancets have a gauge that draws exactly the amount of blood the test strips need so that you can get accurate results while measuring your blood glucose. 

A test strip and a lancet serve different purposes. A lancet, a pointed piece of surgical steel wrapped in plastic, is used to prick the skin of one's finger in order to get a blood sample. Many different types of lancets are used to make microscopic incisions, and are not very invasive. Lancets for blood sampling come in a variety of gauges, where gauge refers to the width of the metal tip and amount of invasion that will occur depends on it. 

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Lancet Pen Device With Needles

While some individuals just poke their fingers with a lancet, most people prefer to use a lancing tool. A lancing tool employs a spring to swiftly withdraw the lancet after driving it into the skin. Additionally, the user is able to alter the depth of penetration based on the sensitivity of the fingers, calluses, and skin thickness. This prevents undue discomfort while still obtaining enough blood. Usually, lancing equipment is provided when you purchase a blood glucose meter. However, it's vital to be aware that there are several additional lancing devices available on the market if the one that came with your blood glucose meter is too uncomfortable or doesn't create a large enough amount of blood.

Read in detail about A Starter's Guide to Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM).

Bottomline

Glucometers are devices used by people with diabetes to measure their blood sugar levels multiple times in a day. There are several varieties of glucometers on the market, and they are usually a one-time purchase. These glucometers come with accessories which include diabetes test strips or glucose test strips, which are a quick method to check blood sugar levels. The sensor transmits glucose level data to the monitor, which may be attached to the patient's waistline or belt. The lancet, which is a needle used to prick the tip of the finger for drawing blood, deposits the blood on the test strip which then reads the person’s blood sugar levels. These test strips soak up the blood and can only be used once. 

Some glucometers have both test strips and lancets. Lancets of various varieties are used to produce tiny incisions that are not highly invasive. Another device known as the lancing pen is a tool used to measure sugar levels by using a spring to quickly extract the lancet once it has been driven into the skin. It is far more convenient and easy to use with minimal effort although it is slightly more expensive than the others. Consult your diabetes doctor to understand which device is best suited for your needs. 

FAQs

What are the Parts of a Glucometer?

The five basic parts of the CGMS are: a) the monitor; b) the glucose sensor; c) the connection cable that connects the sensor and monitor; d) the docking station; and e) the test plug. The sensor sends data about the glucose level to the monitor, which resembles a pager. This part may be fastened to the patient's waistband or belt.

Is a Lancet the same as a Test Strip?

No, a lancet is not the same as a test strip. The skin of one's finger (or other body part) is punctured with a lancet, a pointed piece of surgical steel covered in plastic, to get a blood sample. For creating tiny incisions, such as when draining boils and abscesses, many kinds of lancets are used. There are many gauges of lancets for blood samples, where gauge is a measurement of the metal point's width.

Can you Reuse Lancets?

This depends on the type and quality of the lancet in question. Some people use lancets more than once but it is not recommended to keep using them over and over again. High quality lancets should be used two to three times at the most. You can consult your doctor to best understand the procedure. 

Can we Reuse Glucometer Strips?

No, glucometer strips cannot be used more than one time. Everytime you need to draw blood a new strip must be used for accurate readings. These test strips are a one time use only tool.

References

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guidelines-for-buying-and-using-diabetes-supplies

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