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DIabetes Home Testing: Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes Test Strips

Posted by Sneha Nimje on

Blood glucose test strips or diabetes test strips are an important element of blood glucose testing. These small disposable strips of plastic might look inconsequential but they deliver a very significant part in serving people with diabetes to monitor and control their diabetes. In the enormous majority of cases, for each meter will take one type of test strip only. There are some blood glucose meters that take blood ketone strips as well, to test for ketone levels.

Glucometer with Test Strip

These actually inappropriate strips of plastic are the support of blood glucose testing. It helps patients in observing and monitoring their diabetes. Glucose test strips are an essential part of glucose meters: blood is positioned on the strip and the meter delivers a reading. Even though not normally used these days, there are also diabetic test strips that don’t need a glucose meter. Using this kind of strip, blood is positioned on the active part and then wiped off after a few moments. The substance will cause the strip to change color and the outcome will be matched on a color chart delivered. These glucose test strips are economical but are less correct.

How do test strips work?

When test strips were first introduced in the early 1980s, the process was difficult for most people. It was tough to operate and it required a lot of blood. An enzyme used in the initial test strips change the glucose in the drop of blood into dye; the glucose meter shines a ray of light to the strip and identifies how much light was rapt by the dye. As a replacement for dyes, the glucose is transformed into electrical current. The meter processes glucose concentration through these electric currents. At least 0.5 μl to 1 μl of blood is required per reading. It can detect 0 – 3000 mg/dL or 0-3%. Measurements are just estimates and might differ for each manufacturer. Reapplication of blood on the same strip might be needed for some test strips to work appropriately.

The quality of glucose strips is a vital aspect of glucose testing. Enhanced strips mean better readings. Other features that might affect glucose reading consist of:

Unsteadiness of enzymes – when enzymes are exposed to humidity and extreme temperatures, the movement of the enzyme reduces, and so is its correctness. Glucose strip manufacturers have tried setting this difficult by controlling chemicals to steady the enzymes.

Strip circuit concerns – test strips comprise of incomprehensible wire that links the part with the blood sample to the end part injected into the meter. Small mistakes in the circuit, such as the erratic thickness of metal, might change the current and deliver wrong readings.

Additional blood components – enzymes might get confused by other sugar components of the blood such as maltose. Producers of test strips often used enzymes that only test for glucose and take no notice of other sugar types. Active ingredients in certain medications may also affect meter readings.

Producers, together with researchers and engineers, keep trying to design enhanced test strips every year to address these concerns and to assist the growing number of people with diabetes. In selecting glucose test strips, always try to keep in mind that the brand and type of strips you require also depends on your monitoring devices. Some test strips only work on certain meters.

How long do glucose test strips last?

A box of test strips can last for 3 – 6 months once opened but one should check the information of the leaflet provided with it to be sure. Some glucose meters require being regulated (manual coding) each time you start a new box of strips. When a meter is miscoded, it will continue to give incorrect outcome until you recalibrate it with an accurate code. Your blood glucose level might declaim too high or too low. You might require enclosure a chip into the meter or enter a set of numbers (code) to regulate. If you don’t want the troublesomeness of manually coding meters, check for monitoring systems that use a ‘no-coding technology’. These meters might also need an exact brand or type of glucose test strips to be used.

Where can I get test strips?

The blood glucose test strips are obtainable also on prescription or can be purchased from pharmacies or online.

The important information underneath is normally applicable for most test strips, but please refer to the information sheet for detailed advice on the test strips you use:

  • Keep test strips at room temperature
  • Do not store at a low temperature or refrigerate, as extreme temperatures can completely damage test strips
  • Exposure to moistness can render test strips unusable, and so can direct sunlight
  • Keep test strips inside the closed (sealed) ampoule
  • Do not use test strips that have been in connection with dirt, scraps, food or liquids
  • Do not use test strips if they have been smashed in any way

How accurate are blood glucose testing strips?

Blood glucose test strips must meet exact International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accurateness principles when used with the meter they are intended for.

See the accurateness principles that test strips must meet

Will test strips be required in the future?

There are a total number of blood glucose monitors under development that read blood glucose levels in non-invasive methods - that is, they don't need finger pricking.

Such growths being tested consist of testing tears via a special contact lens, testing saliva and using a rub on provisional tattoo.

Uninterrupted glucose monitors are now obtainable which measure glucose levels without finger pricks, even though blood glucose tests are still required at times, such as for regulation and to check whether hypos might be occurring if you get the warning signs.

In case, you are looking to save your pocket on diabetes medications, check out Medlife.com.

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