December 21, 2020
How To Check Blood Sugar Levels
What does the future of blood sugar testing hold? We explore some of the experimental methods that may be commonplace one day and also review the tried and true glucometers on the market today.
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New & Best Ways For Your Lifestyle
If you have diabetes, you know just how crucial it is to be aware of your blood glucose levels throughout the day. While glucometers are still the most popular option for testing these levels, these systems measure blood sugar levels the old-fashioned way – that is, by measuring samples of your blood. That means you’re going to have to deal with finger pricks, and you don’t need us to tell you how painful and inconvenient those can be.
There has to be a better way, right? That’s what scientists believe – as it turns out, there are a number of glucometer alternatives on the horizon. And if you don’t want to wait any longer for the post-finger prick future, some of these options are even available right now.
What The Future Holds
As of 2018, researchers were looking into a number of unusual methods of keeping an eye on blood sugar levels, ranging from testing bodily fluids like tears and saliva to using infrared light to measure glucose. All of these methods are non-invasive and free of pain for patients.
Another futuristic way to monitor glucose technically would use a needle as part of the process – but not the kind you’re thinking of! Scientists at MIT are hard at work developing color-changing ink that could be used in tattoos. If a patient’s tattoo changes color, they’ll know their blood sugar level has changed, and they can take action in response.
So why not just ditch your glucometer and head to your nearest tattoo parlor? Sadly, these methods are still experimental – while one or all of them may become commonplace years or decades from now, they’re not ready for prime time just yet.
That’s the bad news. The good news: You don’t have to wait for these testing methods to hit the market to simplify the process of testing your blood sugar levels.
Painless Glucose Testing Today
In 2017, the FDA approved a continuous glucose monitor for people with diabetes. This monitor was the first system that did not require patients to do regular backup finger prick tests – in previous versions of the system, users still had to do blood tests twice each day to calibrate the monitor.
Today, continuous glucose monitors like the Freestyle Libre System and the Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System can significantly decrease the need for painful finger pricks among their users. While using a continuous glucose monitoring system, you’ll wear a glucose sensor that you can use to quickly test your blood sugar level – no blood samples required!
Even with these systems, there are still some situations where you could have to do a finger prick test. These include instances when your diabetes symptoms don’t match your sensor readings, when you suspect your readings are inaccurate, and to confirm any highs or lows from your CGM. Still, continuous glucose monitors can go a long way towards making day-to-day life with diabetes less painful.
The Best Of The Rest
If you’re not planning to make any major changes to your testing routine right now, you’re not alone – as we mentioned earlier, glucometers are still the most widely-used option for blood sugar testing. Of course, not all glucometers are created equal. At US MED, many of the glucometers we have in stock boast unique features that help them stand out from the pack.
- The Prodigy Voice blood glucose meter offers fully audible setup and testing, as well as tactile buttons. That makes it an ideal choice for legally blind patients – in fact, it’s won awards from the National Federation of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind. This meter requires medical records from the doctor indicating the patient is legally blind. (FYI- not sure if you want to include)
- The True Metrix Air Glucose Meter uses triple sense technology to detect, analyze, and correct variables in blood samples to give you the most accurate readings possible.
- The True Metrix Go was built with convenience and portability in mind. It offers a compact design, but that doesn’t mean it skimps on performance, either.
Even if you’d like to keep using a traditional glucometer for the time being, these devices – and others available from US MED – can enhance your blood sugar level testing process.
Testing Is Only Half The Battle
No matter what testing method you use, you’ll need to keep your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes. Fortunately, Healthline has collected a number of tips that people with diabetes and pre-diabetes – or anyone else who wants to stay healthy – can use to get a handle on their blood glucose levels.
Here are just a few of the tips listed in Healthline’s article:
- Exercise on a regular basis. Physical activity can help you lose weight and boost your sensitivity to insulin.
- Stay aware of the carbs you’re consuming. Count carbs or start using a food exchange system.
- Eat foods that contain chromium and magnesium. You can get the former mineral from foods like egg yolks, whole grains, coffee, and nuts. The latter can be found in foods like dark leafy greens, fish, bananas, and dark chocolate.
- Make sure you’re drinking enough water. Water plays a key role in helping your kidneys eliminate extra blood glucose through urine.
- Relax with activities like yoga. You can secrete hormones like glucagon and cortisol while stressed, and these hormones can result in higher blood sugar levels.
Living In The Present
Right now, the future of blood sugar testing is mostly just that – something to look forward to. But you can get closer to it today by switching to a continuous glucose monitor or even a different glucometer than the one you’re currently using. It’s not a color-changing tattoo, but it’s something.
Ultimately, though, blood glucose testing is just one part of living with diabetes. No matter what lies ahead, you can make managing your diabetes easier by incorporating some simple lifestyle changes today.