How to choose a blood glucose monitor

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If you suffer from diabetes, you’re likely aware of the importance of keeping your blood glucose levels within a specified range. However, choosing a device to monitor your levels can be a bit of a minefield to navigate.

With so many blood glucose monitors on the market – each spruiking a range of benefits – you may be feeling overwhelmed with choices. To help you out, this simple guide outlines factors to keep in mind and features to look out for.

Are you eligible for various schemes to offset costs?

Your choice of monitor may currently be influenced by your budget. However, many people with diabetes are eligible for subsidised or discounted products.

If you have extras health insurance, you can claim coverage for a blood glucose monitor. Similarly, if you’re registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), you’ll receive discounts to products including blood glucose testing strips. Lastly, those under the age of 21 with type 1 diabetes may be eligible for access to a fully subsidised wearable device that provides continuous monitoring. 

Carefully think about the size

Like most digital devices these days, many monitors are designed to be compact and easily portable. As nifty as this is, you should also make sure the screen is large enough for you to clearly read the results – the last thing you want is to be caught without your reading glasses and a fuzzy screen to try to decipher.

Consider whether a light strip may be a useful addition

While on the topic of ensuring the screen is easy to read, it should be noted that some devices offer a light at the strip port to help ease the insertion of your test strip. While not exactly common, this bonus feature can certainly help greatly if you find yourself needing to take a reading in low-light conditions, such as at night-time. 

Look at the packaging of test strips

Ideally, you want to make sure you can remove test strips from their container as easily as possible. Herein, you may want to consider your own dexterity, particularly if you suffer from arthritis, shaky hands or other conditions that impede the use of your fingers. 

Individually wrapped test strips or strips that tend to stick together will quickly become time-consuming, cumbersome and annoying to handle. To help combat this, an ejector can be a handy tool for quickly dispensing your test strips. 

Understand what type of software will be compatible with your device

Many monitors on the market today can be connected to smartphones and computers in order to download your results and look for patterns in your readings. Not only is this super handy for your own insight into your blood glucose levels, it also makes it much easier to share accurate information with your doctor. 

As such, it’s a good idea to consider how you might like to transfer your monitor’s readings to your smart device: namely, whether you think you’d prefer to use an app or to download the info via Bluetooth. 

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