People diagnosed with diabetes are fairly familiar with diabetic test strips. Glucose test strips are an essential component of home blood glucose monitoring. Though diabetic patients know how to use blood glucose machines most lack knowledge about the anatomy of a diabetic test strip.
How Do Diabetic Test Strips Work?
After application of a small drop of blood on the test strip, it reacts with an enzyme which produces Gluconic acid from the glucose present in the blood. The test strip contains electrical terminals that can quantify the amount of Gluconic acid. The current amount of glucose produced depends on the level of Gluconic acid. The intensity of the current is then measured by the blood glucose monitor and a numbered reading is generated.
The amount of blood required for testing varies (from 0.3-10 μl) depending on the test strip. There are older glucose strips that do not require a meter. Instead, when a blood sample is applied on the active part of the strip for a few seconds, the reagent changed color. The result – glucose level – is then obtained by matching the color against a standard chart.
Which Glucose Meter to Select?
It’s good to know that most manufacturers will provide a meter for free. Do not pick a unique meter. This often means the strips will also be specific and most likely expensive. Start with a popular glucose meter proven to deliver accurate results. You can always switch to better meters if you need to. You must always consult with your healthcare providers before selecting a meter. Blood glucose strips from different brands vary and should not be interchanged; otherwise the glucose machine has to be calibrated every time.
How Long Do Test Strips Last?
All blood glucose strips have an expiry date. Once a box is opened the strips are typically good for 3-9 months. If you measure glucose 4-6 times a day, then buy your test strips in bundles so you can save more money. Always check the expiration date on the test strip box. Do not use test strips that are short-dated or expired.
How To Store Test Strips?
Always read the safety instruction provided in the test strip box. Keep your strips in their original packages and away from heat, humidity and sunlight. Do not leave them open to air because that will make the strip unusable. When you remove a test strip for use, place a clean cloth underneath in case you drop it; this way it will still be clean and usable. Always dispose used test strips and never use them again.
Where Can I Buy Glucose Test Strips?
You can buy diabetic test strips in almost any pharmacy or medical supply store. There are many online stores that also sell these strips. You can find the cheapest diabetic test strips here at Diabetic Outlet, where shipping is always FREE.
Patients with insurance plans may obtain a prescription prior to buying these strips. The cost of a blood glucose does vary depending on your machine, health plan, deductible and whether you are buying branded or unbranded test strips.
What Else Do I Need To Know About Test Strips?
- You must learn how to properly use your test strips otherwise you will be wasting quite a few. Speak to a nurse or a doctor and get them to teach you how to use the test strips; it is very easy to place the strip upside down. You can also watch video tutorials online.
- Sanitary is crucial in obtaining accurate results. Wash your hands before handling any test strip and do not get the strip wet.
- Before pricking your finger, wipe the skin with an alcohol wipe as this will reduce contamination.
- If for whatever reason you have difficulty holding or grasping the test strip, another option is to use a disc. The Bayer Breeze glucose monitor uses discs instead of strips and is much easier to use.
Future Of Diabetic Test Strips…
The future of glucose test strips will not change drastically in the coming years. Devices to read blood sugars from the skin are under development but so far they have been found to lack sensitivity, reliability and accuracy. Continuous blood sugar monitors have been around for a decade but they are not practical for most diabetics. They are also a lot more expensive. For the present, glucose strips are the best choice. The best way to understand test strips is to further educate yourself on how they are manufactured and how they work.