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Blood Sugar Devices 101: The Basics

    Blood Sugar Devices 101: The Basics

    About six million Filipinos are living with diabetes. According to statistics back in 2016, and diabetes mellitus (DM) was also among the top 10 causes of mortality in the Philippines in 2013. There is a good chance that you or someone you know has diabetes, so read on to find out about the different methods and sugar checking devices used in the evaluation of diabetes.

    Which Sugar Checking Device is Best? Common Devices Used at Home

    sugar checking device

    Fingertip Glucose Meter

    Perhaps the most familiar blood sugar checking device for Filipinos is the fingertip glucose meter.

    It has become more common for households to own this type of device. This is because of its ease of use and accessibility. It is by far the most affordable.

    You simply prick a finger, place some blood on a test strip and insert it into the glucometer.

    Another advantage is the real-time result. Once you insert the strip, you only need a few moments before you find out your sugar level. This makes the fingertip glucometer a good device to have at home, especially for those who have a history of acute hypoglycemia. By checking with this device, you can start simple interventions at home when you confirm that your blood sugar hits the low level.

    As for disadvantages, many people dislike repeated pricking. Another disadvantage is the sale of counterfeit test strips. The quality of test strips used can affect the result of the reading, so you need to be careful and purchase the test strips from a trusted source.

    Continuous Glucose Monitoring

    The continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is another blood sugar checking device. However, unlike non-invasive methods, this involves the insertion of a sensing device underneath your skin. It has a data transmitter connected to a receiver. This may be a separate device or part of an insulin pump.

    This is best for those who rely on insulin pumps. The sensor typically needs to be replaced within 1 to 2 weeks.

    CGMs can detect blood glucose any time you need it and often has extensive memory capabilities to store the measurements taken.

    Some of them may be connected to online services accessible to you. And your physician so they can also review the measurements. Others even have alerts that go off when the trend shows predicted blood glucose will be very high or low.

    CGMs also have the advantage of lesser pricks overall compared to daily pricking with fingertip glucometers. However, these devices are more expensive and harder to acquire. If you have good sugar control and are not on insulin, the extensive blood sugar measurements that CGMs do are probably not required for you.

    Common Tests Requested

    Common blood tests requested for patients with DM include fasting blood sugar (FBS) and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Both of these tests are usually done in a laboratory. A health professional will draw some blood from you and put them into tubes to send to a lab for analysis. Read on to find out the purpose of these tests.

    HbA1c Measurement

    Another type of sugar checking device is one that measures something called glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c. When blood sugar levels are high enough, glucose starts binding to hemoglobin, forming HbA1c. This component found in the blood reflects how well your sugar control has been in the past eight to twelve weeks.

    Therefore, it is generally used for monitoring your response and compliance to your regimen.

    Since fasting blood sugar may fluctuate depending on the intake a few days before the test, HbA1c can be a better measure of the average blood sugar without the bias of preparation for the test. Doctors usually recommend a target HbA1c value of <7.0 % for patients with diabetes, although this can differ from one patient to another.

    Since HbA1c requires equipment that is either too big or complicated for simple home use, the test is best done at an accredited facility.

    Fasting Blood Sugar

    Fasting blood sugar is a measure of acute glycemic control. Like HbA1c, it is requested by physicians to monitor your compliance to treatment and the effectiveness of your current medication. FBS may be done with the devices discussed previously. But it is often requested periodically and done in a lab as well.

    Before this test, make sure to take nothing by mouth except water at least eight hours before the blood is drawn. Generally, an FBS of 80 to 130 mg/dL is a good goal for people with diabetes.

    Key Takeaways

    The main blood sugar checking device in the Philippines is the fingertip glucose meter. But the continuous glucose monitor, HbA1c, and FBS are common measuring devices. Each one has distinct advantages and disadvantages. It is good to be familiar with all of them because you may have to use them as needed.

    Good sugar control is needed to avoid or delay the complications of diabetes, including stroke and kidney disease. Finally, as with any other disease, it is important to communicate with your doctor so they can recommend the best options for you, and advise you on the tests you need.

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    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


    Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices | FDA, https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/in-vitro-diagnostics/ blood-glucose-monitoring-devices 

    Continuous Glucose Monitoring | NIDDK (nih.gov), https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/ diabetes/overview/managing-diabetes/continuous-glucose-monitoring

    DOH LEADS WORLD DIABETES OBSERVANCE IN THE PHILIPPINES | Department of Health website, https://doh.gov.ph/node/11786

    Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) Test: MedlinePlus Medical Test, https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/ hemoglobin-a1c-hba1c-test/

    Manage Blood Sugar | Diabetes | CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/manage-blood-sugar.html


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    Written by Lennie Daluz Updated Nov 09, 2021
    Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.
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