The following companies support Diabetes Ireland by sponsoring events, education meetings and published educational and awareness material. They supply meters in Ireland.
Click on these images to learn more about specific meters/readers
Information on Meters and Readers
There are 4 broad categories of Meters:
1.Basic Glucose Meter
A basic meter provides a one-off reading of blood glucose. You place a test strip into the device, then you prick a clean fingertip with a special needle (lancet) to get a drop of blood. You carefully touch the test strip to the blood and wait for a blood glucose reading to appear on the screen. This is a one-off reading, a moment in time.
2. Advanced Glucose Meter & App
Advances in smart phone technology allow a blood glucose meter to integrate with a smartphone app to help the management of diabetes. Blood glucose readings can be automatically uploaded to a smart phone and over time, results may create meaningful insights into what affects the users blood glucose levels. e.g. Ascensia Contour Next ONE device, Lifescan Verio Flex and One Touch Reveal App.
Explanation – Sensor versus Finger prick
Glucose sensors are small circular devices, worn on the body and they measure the glucose levels in the fluid that bathes and surrounds body cells (called Interstitial fluid). They do not measure glucose levels in the blood as the sensor is not placed in the blood stream. Blood glucose readings and fluid glucose readings will be close but won’t match and there will be a greater difference when glucose levels are changing more rapidly like after eating, after taking insulin and during exercise. Due to the continuous readings of glucose sensors you can see glucose patterns/trends over time and how quickly the levels are rising and falling.
3. Glucose Sensor and Reader
These consists of a small disposable glucose sensor worn on the skin for up to 14 days and a wireless reader device. The user just physically scans the reader device over the sensor to see their fluid glucose readings displayed on the screen along with the latest eight hours of glucose data and a trend arrow showing if glucose levels are going up, down or changing slowly. It stores up to 90 days of glucose data. The data is not being continuously sent to the reader device and it does not have alarm settings e.g. Abbott FreeStyle Libre.
4.Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems (CGMS)
A CGMS is a small disposable sensor placed under the skin that can be worn for up to 7 days. The sensor is connected to a transmitter and fluid glucose readings are transmitted wirelessly to a smart phone or hand-held receiver device or an insulin pump where you can see the data displayed on a screen with a trend arrow. From the arrow, you can see if glucose levels are trending up or down. A CGMS gives a constant read out of glucose levels and it can include an alarm feature that lets you know if glucose levels are too high or too low. e.g. Medtronic Guardian Connect or Dexcom G4/G5
Sensors do not replace using a basic meter and finger lancing device because there is about a 10 minute delay between a fluid glucose reading and a blood glucose reading. It is essential to do a blood glucose reading using a meter and finger prick before taking action to treat a low or high blood glucose level or if the symptoms experienced do not match the readings displayed on the sensor screen. And for activities such as driving a car, a finger-prick check is essential to rule out a low blood glucose level prior to driving.
Which meter is right for you?
A person’s healthcare team will guide the choice of meter as many factors need to be taken into account;
- size, memory of meter, ease of use, downloading facilities
- amount of blood required, calibration, strip stability, range of results and factors influencing results
- option of checking for blood ketones
How do I get a meter?
All meters are available through a pharmacy or medical diabetes centre and are only available to those who have been assessed as needing one to manage diabetes. You are trained in how to use the meter and targets are set to guide you on acceptable results. Training includes use of meter, quality control, false results, interpretation of results and disposal of used lancets.
What if my meter breaks down?
All companies have a customer care line and this number can be found on the meter itself, the box it originated from or the lancet and testing strip box. They will replace meters if necessary free of charge or talk you through the problem over the phone. Diabetes Ireland encourages members to register their meter so that if any upgrades or issues arise, the company can alert you. Batteries or replacement meters and results logging diaries can be posted out free of charge from the meter provider. It is recommended that meters be changed every two years.
Meters for testing blood glucose levels are regulated by the food and drug administration (FDA) using guidelines from the ISO.
Visually Impaired The only available talking meter for the visually impaired is the Gluco RX Nexus Voice and it is available through local pharmacies. The distributor for the meter and strips is Windzor Healthcare.
(updated August 2019)
The History of Diabetes Technology