What are Diabetic Test Strips?
Diabetic test strips are important for you to use to help manage your diabetes along with your health care provider. Diabetic test strips are tiny, thin, plastic strips which are placed into a blood glucose meter which then gives you your current blood sugar value. Although diabetic strips have been around for a while, the technology has changed over the last years allowing it to be much easier and more accurate than ever before. Even though there are multiple brands of meters that use matching, specific brand strips, they all work similarly.
How do Glucose Strips Work?
Glucose strips hold a high priority in the management of diabetes since they are a key component in blood glucose testing. Since the 1990’s, an enzyme called glucose oxidase transforms the blood glucose on the strip into an electrical current. The meter then reads the current as a glucose concentration which appears as a number on your meter screen. Glucose strips can be +/- 20% of your actual glucose number. All meters are strip specific so extra strips should be ordered when the meter is purchased. Test strips are usually available in bottles of 50 or 100 strips per container. The container should be kept closed until the test strip is needed, since strips can be affected by heat, humidity and artificial light.
When Should You Check Glucose Levels?
Knowing when to test blood sugars will prevent you from wasting strips and help save you money. It will also prevent you from needless finger sticks. Always check with your diabetes management team to determine how many times a day and what specific times to test your blood glucose. Often blood glucose should be tested before a meal and 2 hours after a meal to see how the specific food impacted your blood sugar results. Blood sugars can also be tested fasting in the morning and then prior to bed. You may need to test more frequently at different times depending on your personal situation. Blood glucose testing is one important tool to help guide your diabetes self -management plan. It also helps your physician make changes in your medical management along with your current A1C value.