Glucose test strips are the most important part of blood sugar testing. Although a person’s blood sugar can be measured by how they’re feeling, it isn’t as precise as a proper blood sugar test and relying solely on physical and mental symptoms could lead to significant consequences.
What are Glucose Test Strips?
Glucose test strips are small strips of plastic and metal that use an enzyme called glucose oxidase to measure your blood sugar. The blood droplet is pulled into a pocket, where it interacts with the enzyme within the test strip. Once inserted into the glucose meter, a small, low-level electrical current is created by the glucose-enzyme reaction which the glucose meter can then read. The meter is calibrated to read that electrical current, where a higher glucose level in the blood creates a higher electrical current, which is then given a numerical value and displayed on the meter’s screen.
Why are Glucose Test Strips so Important?
Glucose test strips are important because without them, there is no way to accurately and quickly measure your blood sugar level, which, if you’re diabetic, can be deadly. There are ways to test your blood sugar without a glucose meter, but they aren’t as accurate and require specific chemicals, or for you to risk your health by basing your blood sugar level by how you’re feeling and whether you have certain symptoms. Glucose test strips are far safer, much more accurate, and easy to buy in large amounts.
Test strips almost always ship in packs of 50, which would be enough for 50 different tests. Larger boxes can be bought, with 100 test strips or more. Other differing amounts can be bought, but those other amounts tend to come from less well-known manufacturers, and come in packs of far less than 50 as opposed to more. Some manufacturers offer 300 test strips, although this isn’t the norm.
How many tests do I get?
Most big, name-brand manufacturers charge upwards of $20 per 50 tests. While this may not sound like a lot of money given how many tests you get, it’s important to know that glucose test strips are not reuseable. This means that if you, or someone you love, need to test their blood sugar five or six times a day (or more) they’ll likely run out of tests within a week-and-a-half.
The test strips being one time use means that anyone that must test themself multiple times a day will likely need a huge number of test strips or be constantly buying another new box of 50 every week-and-a-half. There is no way to make a test work twice, and using a test more than once could give a false reading that could cause serious harm.
Are Glucose Test Strips Universal?
Unfortunately, they aren’t. Glucose test strips are not universal whatsoever, and the test strips for a specific brand’s glucose meter will only work with that brand’s meter. There is no such thing as universal glucose test strips, although cheaper brands do exist that manufacture more affordable glucose meters and test strips that are comparable in accuracy while being considerably cheaper to buy in large numbers.
Glucose test strips are an essential part of managing and living with diabetes. Without regular, accurate testing, it’s nearly impossible to safely measure and control your blood sugar level. They may be expensive, and single use, but glucose test strips offer so many benefits to the people that use them, that they’re well worth the price. Cheaper options do exist and offer relatively similar result accuracy, which can help those in need of them but don’t have the funds. Glucose test strips are the most important piece when it comes to managing life with diabetes, and shouldn’t be forgotten about or ignored.