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Make the Most of Your Meter

Monitoring blood glucose levels lets you check how well -- or not -- your diabetes-care plan is working. Learn how to choose the right meter for you and get the most out of your readings.

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Today's Blood Glucose Meters

The first blood glucose monitoring device was the Ames Reflectance Meter, which was introduced in 1970 and cost nearly $500. It was heavy and bulky, designed for doctors' offices and hospitals. The blood glucose meters available today are smaller, faster, easier to use and carry, and require smaller amounts of blood. Go through these steps to sort through many of the claims and features to figure out which meter will work best for you.

  1. Contact your health-insurance provider to see whether your plan covers all blood glucose meters or just a few specific models. This may be the case if your health plan is an HMO or large insurer.

  2. Ask your health-care providers which monitors they suggest, taking your lifestyle and health into account. For example, if you have vision trouble, they might suggest a meter with a large screen. If you lap up the latest technology, you might opt for a meter with extensive memory that tracks several aspects of your care.

  3. Peruse the diabetes aisles in pharmacies and check out meter manufacturers' Web sites. If you're enrolled in a diabetes education program or support group, ask fellow members and the diabetes educators about their preferences.

  4. Before you buy, walk through the procedure with a diabetes educator or pharmacist to make sure you're comfortable using the meter. Be familiar with the ins and outs of your monitoring system. If you have questions, contact the manufacturer. Remember to register your meter to activate your warranty.

  5. Stay abreast of the latest technology. Update your meter as new models become available that may be more appropriate for you.

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