Blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is a vital component of human blood that provides energy to the body. It is derived from the breakdown of carbohydrates in food and represents the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream. The regulation of blood glucose involves various factors such as insulin and glucagon. However, a lack of awareness regarding blood sugar monitoring and hormonal imbalances can lead to health issues, including diabetes.
Traditionally, people associate blood sugar monitoring with visits to the hospital and the use of professional equipment. However, according to data from the World Health Organization, the global number of diabetic patients is increasing due to factors such as dietary habits, sedentary lifestyles, rising obesity rates, and an aging population. As a result, glucose monitoring system has become an essential aspect of self-health management for individuals with diabetes and even for the general population. Monitoring blood sugar levels aids in assessing glucose metabolism disorders, developing appropriate hypoglycemic plans, and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment.
Nowadays, home glucometers are widely available, and they can be purchased through various channels. Some electronics enthusiasts even do glucometer circuit design by themselves. If you have concerns about choosing a suitable glucose monitor, this article will provide a comprehensive selection guide. It will include the top 3 blood glucose meter brands, factors to consider when selecting a glucose monitor, and recommendations for different user profiles.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Glucose Monitor
Consistency and Accuracy
For users who are purchasing their first glucose monitor, they may encounter a common concern regarding inconsistent readings when measuring blood glucose levels in a short period of time.
The current home blood glucose meter systems still have certain limitations in terms of test accuracy. Compliance with FDA regulations requires test consumables in the US market to adhere to the ISO 15197:2013 standard. This standard stipulates that 95% of test results should fall within +/- 15% when blood glucose levels are above 75 mg/dL and within +/- 15% when blood glucose levels are below 75 mg/dL. Remarkably, a significant portion of the glucometer brands available in the current market, specifically 66%, do not meet the required standards for accuracy during testing.
Moreover, certain niche brands may exhibit variations in consistency due to differences in measurement results compared to reference standards. However, such discrepancies render some results inapplicable, particularly within medical contexts. While minor deviations in blood sugar control assessment and health management may be acceptable to general users, even slight deviations can have severe consequences for individuals with diabetes.
To ensure consistent and accurate test results, it is crucial to select a reliable brand that has been verified and certified. Strict adherence to the instructions for use is also essential for proper operation and maintenance.
When considering the price of blood glucose monitoring devices, it is important for consumers to focus on overall affordability rather than the cost of individual equipment.
- Equipment Price: The price varies depending on your chosen brand and model. Some well-known and multi-functional meters may come at a higher price point, but they can offer value for diabetics by providing accuracy and potentially extending their lifespan. Additionally, certain brands may provide free system upgrade services, enhancing the longevity and functionality of the meter.
- Cost of Consumables: The majority of blood glucose testing expenses stem from consumables, such as blood glucose test strips and needles, which are required for each test. Prices can vary among different brands and purchase quantities. Test strip prices range from approximately $0.25 to over $1 per strip, while needles tend to be slightly more expensive. It is important to note that reusing test strips or needles is not recommended for cost-saving purposes. Some brands may offer subscription plans that provide test strips and needles at no additional cost, underscoring the significance of reputable brands.
- Health Insurance Coverage: If you have health insurance, it may help reduce your costs associated with blood glucose meter equipment and consumables. It is advisable to check with your insurance provider to determine what coverage options are available.
In addition to the fundamental blood glucose measurement capability, modern blood glucose meter monitors offer a range of advanced auxiliary functions to enhance the monitoring of blood glucose levels. Consider the following functions when choosing a glucometer that suits your specific needs:
- Data Recording and Storage: Many blood sugar monitors have the ability to record and store blood glucose test results over a specific period. Some models can even generate trend graphs to provide visual data analysis, allowing users to track and monitor changes in their blood glucose levels. Advanced devices may integrate with medical systems to provide personalized recommendations based on intelligent analysis of data and daily intake information.
- Reminder Function: Basic but essential, the reminder function helps users establish a regular blood glucose testing routine by prompting them to perform tests at predetermined times.
- Connectivity and Data Sharing: These meters can transmit measurement data to smartphones, computers, or other devices via Bluetooth or wireless technology. Real-time monitoring of blood glucose levels becomes possible, which is particularly beneficial for caregivers or family members who need to monitor the blood sugar condition of their loved ones.
Top 3 Glucose Meter Brands
Accu-Chek - Get Blood Glucose Test Results in 4 Seconds
Accu-Chek, a cutting-edge blood glucose monitor, offers fast and accurate test results in less than four seconds. Developed by Roche Diabetes Care, Inc., a renowned company with over 40 years of experience in serving individuals with diabetes, this product guarantees reliability and user-friendliness. Let’s explore the key features and benefits of the Accu-Chek glucometer:
- Seamless Connectivity: Utilizes advanced wireless technology to connect the glucose meter with mobile devices and the Accu-Chek platform, enabling effortless data transfer and analysis.
- Comprehensive Tools: Equipped with calculation capabilities for determining insulin dosages, empowering users to optimize their diabetes management with accurate information.
- Reliable Accuracy and Long Battery Life: Delivers precise and consistent blood glucose measurements, ensuring confidence in the results. The extended battery life provides uninterrupted usage for a longer duration.
- Enhanced User Experience: Designed with user convenience in mind, the LED backlight and illuminated test strip port facilitate easy and hassle-free testing, even in low-light or nighttime conditions.
- Limited Data Sharing: The glucose meter is primarily designed for individual measurements and does not support data sharing with other diabetes devices, such as continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems or insulin pumps.
- Incompatibility with Third-Party Platforms: The meter’s data format may not be compatible with certain third-party digital platforms that offer data analysis and insights.
Beurer: Innovative Blood Glucose Monitoring
Beurer is a reputable brand with a wide range of products, including feminine care, medical, and maternal and child products. Established in 1919, the brand has gained international recognition and received prestigious awards such as the German Design Award, German Brand Award, Digital Champion Award, and Red Dot Award. While Beurer is not exclusively focused on glucose monitoring devices, here is an objective review of the Beurer blood sugar meter:
- Affordable price: The Beurer GL-50 is available at a reasonable price, offering great value for money compared to other options on the market.
- 3-in-1 design: The glucose monitor consists of two main components – the meter itself and the blood taker. When disassembled, it reveals a USB connector, allowing convenient connectivity to a computer.
- Portability: The Beurer monitor is compact and lightweight, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer easy portability.
- Small screen: Beurer may need to consider the needs of its user base, particularly older individuals with impaired eyesight. The interface design of this glucose level monitoring device is more suitable for younger users who prioritize lightweight.
- Side switch placement: The on/off key of the Beurer GL-50 is located on the side of the screen, which may be challenging for individuals with short fingernails or limited dexterity.
- Language settings: As a German brand, the default language of the meter is German. Users may need to manually reset the language within the system as per their preference since there is no initial language selection option.
Contour: Save Money with Second-Chance® Sampling Technology
CONTOUR is a reputable and established brand in the field of blood glucose meters, dedicated to providing reliable and accurate blood glucose monitoring solutions for diabetic patients. With a long history of investment in diabetes research since 1941, the company has achieved significant advancements in blood glucose monitoring technology and systems. The CONTOUR series offers a wide range of models and functions that have received widespread recognition and praise. Here is an evaluation of the CONTOUR glucose meter:
- Strong credibility: CONTOUR products have gained a strong reputation and popularity on reputable platforms like Amazon. They have received high ratings with an average score of 4.6 from over 1,000 users worldwide. Approximately 80% of users have given it a five-star rating.
- Fashionable design: The product showcases a sleek and modern design, both in its packaging and overall appearance, appealing to young diabetic individuals. It is conveniently portable and can be easily carried in a belt or bag.
- User-centric features: The CONTOUR series incorporates smartLIGHT technology, which displays the user’s blood sugar range through different colored lights. Green indicates normal range, amber indicates high range, and red indicates low range.
- High compatibility: The product is highly compatible and integrates with the Contour Diabetes App developed by the company. This allows seamless connectivity with your device, whether it is an Android or iOS platform.
- Meal marking: The blood glucose monitor offers three detection options: fasting, pre-meal, and post-meal. This allows users to select the appropriate detection mode based on their eating schedule, enabling more accurate measurements.
- Charging inconvenience: This glucose monitor may have limitations when it comes to charging, as it does not support charging via USB data cable.
- Higher cost: The cost aspect is mainly associated with the specialized test strips used by the CONTOUR monitor, which are comparatively more expensive than those offered by other brands.
- 1 star rating: It is worth noting that a few users have reported that the measurements obtained with the CONTOUR glucometer were approximately 10 points higher than readings obtained from other devices. While the reasons behind this discrepancy could vary, it is essential to consider different test references and individual factors. These reports may impact individuals aiming to lower their blood sugar levels, generating negative sentiments.
Comparison of Different Glucometer Types
Traditional fingerstick monitors
- Preparation: Begin by gathering the necessary equipment, including the blood sugar monitor, test strips, lancets/needles, and alcohol. Ensure that your hands are thoroughly washed and clean before proceeding.
- Device setup: Insert the test strip into the designated slot on the meter, ensuring a secure and proper connection between the test strip and the meter.
- Needle pricking: Sterilize the needle by applying alcohol, then gently press the prick button against the desired area of the skin to obtain a blood sample. Put a drop of blood on a test strip and wait for the results.
- Recording results: Maintain a detailed daily log to track changes in blood sugar levels. Record the results manually, noting the date, time, and corresponding readings to facilitate monitoring and analysis.
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems
The CGM sensor is implanted in the arm or upper abdomen to detect changes in blood sugar concentration. It utilizes a special chemical reactor that reacts with glucose in the surrounding tissue, generating an electrical signal. This non-invasive detection method allows for continuous monitoring.
CGM system provides real-time monitoring, detecting fluctuations in blood sugar concentration at all times. In the event of abnormalities, an alarm is triggered immediately, ensuring prompt awareness and response. Even during sleep, the system maintains a detection frequency of approximately 5-10 minutes.
It is important to note that CGM testing is particularly beneficial for individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, the choice to utilize CGM should be discussed with your healthcare provider to determine its suitability for your specific needs.