Is blood glucose monitoring still relevant? It seems to me that it very much is. As mentioned previously, not everyone yet has access to glucose monitoring sensors, so there are plenty of reasons to blood test. By Sue Marshall
As well as whatever your clinician advises you to do, there are other times when doing a quick check can come in useful, for example if your blood sugars are going up/down rapidly you might want to do a few more checks. Check before you get in the car to drive if you have diabetes and are on insulin. Additionally if you have had a hypo and are intending to drive you should ensure your levels have come up and you are safe to do so). If you do use a sensor, you may need to calibrate it. Or you might want to do a test to cross-check readings on your meter to see if they tally up, or if your sensor reading does not reflect how you feel.
Furthermore, don’t blame your tools. Look around and invest in a good finger pricker; it can be the difference between testing, or not. Take time to look at results and learn from them. Don’t necessarily worry over each test result; look for patterns of highs and lows so you know what the results mean.
Here are some of the movers and shakers in the blood testing market, in alphabetical order by company name (manufacturer or supplier). Note: this is not a comprehensive A-Z.
The WaveSense Jazz Wireless blood test meter’sresults automatically sync to the AgaMatrix Diabetes Manager app via Bluetooth technology. The meter itself is compact and easy to handle with an easy to read LED display. Results shown in five seconds and needs only a small blood sample. With its synching ability, you can track and store multiple types of data including blood glucose readings, carbohydrate intake, insulin dose and even your weight, should you wish to.Your blood glucose results can be shared using real time automatic notifications every time a test takes place and/or send a preformatted report with blood glucose data and other diabetes related data from the last 7, 14, 30 or 90 days, at the press of a button.
GlucoRx has a range of diabetes management solutions, including the HCT (Haematocrit Correction Technology) blood glucose and ketone meter, designed with insulin users in mind. Haematocrit is the volume percentage of red cells in blood and it can influence the results given by some meters. GlucoRx HCT is the only meter that specifically measures haematocrit before giving the glucose reading. Certain population groups, including the young, pregnant, and patients undergoing specific other treatments, have varying haematocrit levels, which can then affect blood glucose measurements by up to 20%. So a more accurate haematocrit for people these groups will enable better insulin dosing. There are two meters in the HCT range. Along with GlucoRx HCT there is HCT Connect, which isa smartphone dongle for use with the GlucoRx HCT App, which can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices. The app allows for easy testing, measuring, recording, tracking and monitoring of blood glucose, ketones as well as haematocrit.Both are compatible with Diasend/Glooko.
Nipro Diagnostics offers the 4SURE range of blood glucose monitors, the 4SURE Smart, and 4SURE Smart Duo. The first is a meter that measures blood glucose from a small sample size with a five-second countdown to the result. The 4SURE Smart Duo is for blood glucose and ketone testing. It has a five second countdown for a blood glucose result, 10 seconds for ketones. Both meters feature a large, automatic backlit display, under-fill detection, have the ability to flag pre and post-prandial results and has a memory capacity of 1000 tests. Computer downloads are possible with 4SURE management software, are compatible with Diasend/Glooko. The meters have Bluetooth connectivity, so can sync to a related app that has a bolus calculator on board.
Nipro Diagnostics has recently initiated a 4SURE starter kit, which guarantees that the newly diagnosed Type 1s receive all necessary first prescription items consumables for testing glucose and ketones, supplied to them free of charge during their consultation. It means that the Health Board is not paying for the first prescription, and it simplifies matters for the diabetes HCP, as everything the patient requires is contained in one convenient package.
TEE2+is a reliable, easy-to-use glucose meter, with a large, clear display and a sleek design from Spirit Healthcare. The meter incorporates meal-time flagging, a test averaging tool and a strip expiration date indicator. Only a small blood sample is required and results are shown in just 5 seconds. The meter meets the latest standards for accuracy while offering value to the NHS. CareSens Dualis a combined glucose and ketone meter, with all the benefits of TEE2+ but also with the ability to test for Ketones, using a specific strip. Both meters are Bluetooth enabled, and link to SmartLog, a diabetes management software that helps patients and healthcare professionals view, analyse and share blood glucose data. The program provides useful pictorial views of blood glucose levels showing trends, patterns, and statistics. It also records information such as diet, exercise, medication and insulin injections. It also has a camera function, so patients can take photographs of their meals!
We’re forever writing about new technologies in this magazine. Some remove the need for you to input any blood monitoring data by doing the tracking themselves and feeding the results into readers, apps, the cloud or other software. Yet, for the less techie types, nothing beats an old-fashioned blood test diary.The Desang Blood Monitoring Diaries are £9 for a pack of six. Each lasts one month. Use it to track foods eaten, medicine dosages as well as results, which can be traced on a graph. You can flip the diary to see ‘waves’ of results on the pages and spot trends of highs or lows. And the signal will never drop! No need to charge! Buy from Diabetes UK’s shop.
To test or not to test, that is the question
As time moves on things change, including language. Now ‘testing’ is recognized as being a potentially contentious way to talk about – well, blood tests. Comes across as a test, an exam, a judgement, instead of being a way to gain insightful information. So it’s now more often being referred to as blood checking or blood monitoring. The full term is self-monitoring of blood glucose, or SMBG. This joins another term that gets used when talking about the condition, which is PWD (people with diabetes) or even PLWD (people living with diabetes). Another word that gets people’s backs up is ‘compliance’, which may now become more often called ‘medical adherence’.
Editor’s comment: The fact is that many of us are rather stuck in our ways, and see no issue with calling ourselves ‘diabetic’. I tend to use whatever term the person who is speaking prefers. ‘Diabetic’ is simply shorter than ‘person/people living with diabetes’. Plus, I worry that by using acronyms people new to the magazine might not know them. Just because certain phrases do the rounds on social media does not mean everyone knows what they are, or that they will remain in circulation. Language does matter, of course, so I try to be aware of issues to with people feeling alienated by certain terminology, but not everyone is in agreement so it’s a bit like trying to nail jelly to the wall. Language evolves, therefore it is something of a moving feast. A feast because our language is so rich, but in healthcare the message is often from one to many, and the message can get lost if core words are not agreed and used with consistency. I hope that this magazine helps to bring useful information and away that causes offence to no one. – Sue Marshall