If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are seeking a trustworthy, accurate way to monitor your blood glucose levels from home or work, there are several glucometer (blood glucose meter) options available. This small device can help you manage your diabetes as it tracks fluctuations in your blood sugar. The cost of glucometers varies as you can select from basic to more advanced models that have more features and options.

Presently, the most common type of glucometer is the finger-prick model. This device requires you to insert a small test strip into the device, and then prick your finger with a specialized needle in order to draw a drop of blood. After touching the test strip to the blood droplet, the glucometer analyzes your results and displays them on the screen. This device is generally quite accurate in measuring blood glucose if used and stored properly.

Although finger-pricking remains the best option for monitoring blood glucose, a lot of research is focused on improving and developing additional devices that can perform the same analysis in either a less painful or non-invasive way. There are some additional glucometer types to consider, each with their pros and cons. For example, the alternative site monitor can draw a blood sample from a less painful area on the body (like the arms, thighs). However, it can be slightly less accurate than the finger-prick option in the case of rapidly fluctuating blood glucose.

Yet another option is continuous glucose testing, using models such as the FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System – the first model of its kind for adults that does not require calibration using blood samples. If you opt for this device, a small wire sensor is inserted under the skin to measure the blood sugar, and by waving a mobile reader over the wire, the results are transmitted to the reader, which will alert you if glucose levels are too high or low. The drawback is that it is more expensive, the sensor must be replaced every 10 days, it is intended for adult use, it does not provide real-time alerts or alarms if your do not initiate a reading (i.e. if you are sleeping), and you still have to check blood sugar levels with a traditional monitor regardless.

When selecting your device, there are other important factors to consider: whether your insurance covers specific models, the cost of devices, ease of use (are they comfortable? Are screens easy to read?), how the device stores and retrieves your information (is it stored strictly on the device or can you download your data to another device such as your computer or phone?).

If you are still unsure which option is best for you or if you have any additional questions about the devices and how they would fit into your lifestyle, speak with your doctor and ask for a recommendation.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.