Blood glucose monitors, also sometimes called blood glucose meters, are devices used to measure blood glucose levels. They are important tools that people with diabetes use to monitor their blood glucose and determine if they're managing their diabetes properly. Based on their blood glucose levels, people with diabetes can then make a number of important decisions, such as what foods they should be eating, what physical activity they should be doing and what medications they should be taking.
Blood glucose monitors come in a variety of types, from machines used to check glucose occasionally throughout the day to devices that monitor blood glucose continually. People need to work with a doctor to determine which type of monitor they should be using.
Blood Glucose Meters
A traditional glucose meter is one that's used periodically to check blood glucose levels. The number of times to check glucose each day tends to vary from person to person. Using a traditional meter typically involves pricking the fingertip (or a less sensitive area like the forearm or thigh) with a lancing device to obtain a small blood sample. The sample is then tested by the glucose meter to provide a reading of the blood glucose level.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Devices called continuous glucose monitors are also available for those who need a little extra help with their glucose control. With these devices, a small sensor is implanted under the skin and checks glucose levels in tissue fluids frequently. The sensor then transmits blood glucose level readings to a monitor that is worn or carried by the individual. Alarms can be set to notify the person if glucose readings are too high or too low. These devices may help people with diabetes achieve better glucose control thanks to the almost constant information about blood glucose levels that they provide.
SOURCES: U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases