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Blood glucose meters defined: 10 common terms

When it comes to researching and comparing glucose meters, it is easy to become lost in a sea of terminology. Making sense of the terminology can be challenging at best. Here is a quick rundown of common glucose meter terms that can help you navigate the waters.

Blood glucose meter terms

  1. Coding. Since each test strip batch might contain a variety of chemical agents, coding keeps the meter and the strips in sync. Sometimes coding must be done manually, but most modern meters offer automatic coding.
  2. Alternative site testing. Some meters are compatible with testing blood in areas other than the fingertip. This might include the hand, forearm, thigh, upper arm and other areas.
  3. Memory. The memory of a glucose meter records the testing results, up to a certain limit. Some meters can record thousands of results. These are stored on the meter and available for review at any time.
  4. Blood sample. A tiny drop of blood is required for the test strip to work. This blood sample usually comes from a lancet prick on the fingertip, though it can also be obtained through alternative site testing.
  5. mg/dL. This means "milligrams per decilitre" and is the standard measurement used by blood glucose meters in the United States.
  6. Plasma vs. plasma glucose. Most meters read the blood glucose as whole blood. However, some meters test for plasma glucose, which is the same measure used when labwork is drawn at the doctor's office.
  7. Testing time.This is the time it takes for the meter to read the test strip and offer the testing result. Most meters take less than ten seconds to finish the test.
  8. Display. The large screen is called the display. The display can show a wide range of information, from a simple glucose level to icons that allow the user to customize the meter. Some meters, such as the OneTouch Ultra2, have a backlight display.
  9. Downloadable. Some meters offer the option of downloading your test results into a software program. Having downloadable results are your disposal can help you better track your blood sugar levels.
  10. Averages. This function on a glucose meter averages together all test results over certain period. Many meters offer 7, 14 and 30 day averages. However, other meters, such as the Prodigy Voice and Advocate Redi-Code Duo, offer 7, 14, 21, 28, 60, and 90 day averages.

Understanding blood glucose monitor terminology can take the mystery out of testing and help in choosing the right meter.

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About Shannon Lee

Shannon Dauphin began writing about diabetes long before she was diagnosed in 1998. A professional writer with nearly two decades of experience, Shannon has covered topics from medical and health to relationships and is the author of several published novels.

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