In Hong Kong, at least one out of ten people suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes and high blood sugar levels would increase the risk for a number of serious health problems, i.e. heart disease, stroke, or hyperglycemia – which could even lead to kidney failure and blindness.
When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, there is a need in using a blood glucose meter to regularly measure and monitor the blood sugar level. That way the person would know the effect of certain foods, exercise, stress and other factors on his or her blood glucose, and with the help of the doctor, could be treated right away and the risk of complications can be reduced.
Before one chooses a suitable glucose meter, the best way is to consult with a doctor and make sure the treatment could be sustained for many years to come. There are three common types of glucose monitoring devices people often use at home:
- Meters with Test Strips Glucose meter and test strips are sold separately, so it could be quite costly. A diabetic may need to use four to eight strips a day, with each strip that can only be used once and then discarded. Therefore, it is a good idea to calculate the cost for test strip supplies throughout the year. Some meters are not designed to be used with third-party or generic strips, which might result in inaccuracy in the reading. Other factors that would affect accuracy, i.e. product quality, user technique, humidity and room temperature.
- Non-invasive Glucose Monitor One of the biggest downsides of the common glucose meters with test strips is the multiple finger pricks one must do to test his or her sugar levels throughout the day. With a non-invasive glucose monitor, the glucose levels are extracted from specific areas on the body which transmit low-power radio waves, such as the thumb, earlobe, or forefinger. It could also monitor glucose levels in tear fluid and deliver the result to a mobile app. This advanced needle-free technique is currently being developed and improved by many manufacturers around the world.
- Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) This system has been approved and covered by many insurance companies today. It basically works with a disposable sensor attached to a transmitter that is placed under the skin on the abdomen. The sensor glucose readings come from the interstitial fluid (ISF), which has about five to ten-minute delay to reflect blood glucose levels. There are many brands available in the market, e.g. FreeStyle Libre Glucose Reader, which can be connected to the Librelink mobile app for easy sharing and storage of glucose readings.
Monitoring blood glucose levels is essential to prevent complications. Thanks to technology, the routine glucose testing activities have been made easier for diabetics, which eventually lead to an improved living quality of a generation.