How Do I Choose a Blood Sugar Monitoring Device?

Published: November 02, 2021
By Marissa Brooks, Pharm.D., M.B.A.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make or use insulin correctly, which can lead to unusually high levels of blood sugar. Blood sugar, also called glucose, is the amount of sugar found in your blood. Monitors are used to check your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Based on the result, you can make changes to keep your blood sugar level within a range that is healthiest for you. Your pharmacist can help you choose the best blood sugar monitor for your lifestyle and answer any questions you may have about diabetes or your medications.

 

What are the different types of blood sugar monitors?

There are many different brands and types of blood sugar monitors. One common type requires you to prick your finger with a lancet to obtain a drop of blood. The drop of blood is absorbed by a test strip, which is then inserted into the monitor, which determines how much sugar is in your blood at that time. Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) measure your blood sugar every few minutes using a sensor inserted under your skin. CGMs can last for several weeks, and these devices are a good fit for people who need to frequently measure their blood sugar or require strict blood sugar control.

 

How do I choose which monitor is best for me?

Your pharmacist can discuss the different features of blood sugar monitors and help choose the right device for you. Here is a list of things to consider and questions to ask:

 

  • Ease of use - You may prefer the monitor to have a larger screen, so it is easier to see the numbers.
  • Price - Traditional finger stick monitors can range from $10 to $30, whereas CGMs can cost about $100 or more.
  • Insurance coverage - Does insurance cover the cost of your blood sugar monitor? Will it cover the entire cost of the CGM?
  • Accuracy - A monitor’s lifespan is about 3 to 5 years, so it is important to handle it with care. You can ask your doctor to check if the monitor is giving you accurate readings.
  • Comfortability - Would you be more comfortable giving yourself daily finger sticks, or would you prefer the CGM that is applied every few weeks?
  • Cost of test strips - Test strips can cost anywhere from $15 to $100 per box. Does your insurance cover these?

Summary

Throughout the day, checking your blood sugar level is an important way to maintain the blood sugar level goals you set with your doctor. There are many different types of monitoring devices to choose from. Your pharmacist can help you find the right monitor for your lifestyle.

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