Diabetes Test Kit

Have you used a diabetes test kit?  Did you know you can get one over the counter without a prescription if you are curious about what your blood sugar levels may be?  Did you know that there is one big downside to home test kits that people aren’t talking about much?

People who suffer from diabetes mellitus know how vital it is for them to be constantly aware of the sugar blood levels. The many test kit brands available in the market today share common usage and content features: they all include glucose test strips, a battery-powered tester and something to prick the skin to draw blood. 

You do not need more than one good blood droplet for an accurate test result. Together with the package, there are the manufacturer's recommendations and usage instructions that you need to read very carefully.

Other types of diabetes home test kits measure the glucose or sugar level in urine samples and the results can be interpreted by the change of the color on the test strips. Together with the test kit comes a full chart that will help a diabetic interpret the results properly: the range of hues goes from blue to green or green to brown. These are not known to be very accurate and we never use them.

The test interpretation is not difficult; it will only take a few seconds or minutes to know what your blood sugar levels are. Some brands of diabetes home test kits only include the blood collection devices, and the sample is sent afterward through mail to a specialized medical laboratory for thorough testing.  We don’t find these very useful.  If we want to have to wait for a result, we go to our doctor and get tested there.

Technology enables users to easily identify whether the amount in the blood sample is enough for the correct test performance. Most digital diabetes home tests kits beep to let the user know if the blood amount is satisfactory or not. 

The good part about over the counter diabetes test kits is that they can be taken with you anywhere, even when you go on holiday as they easily fit in small suitcases or even handbags. If you are scared you may forget to perform the daily test, the smartest digital test kits have an alarm reminder incorporated.

Furthermore, there are many individuals who suffer from physical disabilities and have little dexterity in operating very small technological home test kits, which is why manufacturers have come up with easy-to-use kits that include voice instruction options. Diabetics in particular can have problems with their vision if their blood sugar levels have been unregulated.

Available in a multitude of designs, diabetes home test kits make one's life a lot easier; they range from affordable models to very costly ones according to personal preferences. Whether basic or complicated, diabetes home health test kits are medically approved and carry specific certification marks.  

The Downside of a Home Diabetes Test Kit

One thing that most people don’t realize is that a diabetes test kit can have up to a 20% variance in its readings.  

Within the medical community, over the counter blood sugar meters are considered clinically accurate if the result is within 20 percent of what a lab test would indicate. For example, if your glucose meter result was 100 mg/dL, it could vary on the downside to 80 mg/dL or on the up side to 120 mg/dL and still be considered clinically accurate.

To avoid thinking your blood sugar levels are higher or lower than usual, pay attention to your readings when you open a new package of test strips, because going from one package to the next will often cause some variance.  Also, know that some brands tend to test higher than others, so stick with the same test kit to insure your results are as consistent as possible.  

It is unfortunate that test kits are allowed to have this big of a variance, because it makes it hard for people who are trying to maintain their blood sugar levels tightly.  If you are working to maintain your blood sugar levels without medication, a fasting blood sugar level that can vary between 80-120 mg/dL is way too much since anything under 100 mg/dL indicates you are doing a good job managing your blood sugar while over that indicates that you may need to be taking medication. 

On one occasion, I tried out three different brands and got three widely different readings for my fasting blood sugar level while at the doctor’s office.  The Walgreens brand meter had the highest reading 107 mg/dL. The Walmart (Relion) test kit was also high (for me) with a reading of 97 mg/dL.  My trusty Freestyle Lite meter measured in at 82 mg/dL.  The blood test from the doctor came back at 85 mg/dL so my Freestyle Lite meter was the closest.  

To deal with the accepted variance, and to minimize it, we have found that using one meter over time is the best since the readings will be the most consistent and can be compared with one another.  We also pay attention to any changes in readings when we go from one box of test strips to the next so we don’t over react if our readings change (go up or down) when we open a new box.  

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