As the first blood sugar monitoring tools most diabetes patients encounter after their initial diagnosis, fingerstick meters serve a valuable purpose in maintaining records of blood glucose readings over an extended period of time. Highly accurate and easy to use, these meters are ideally suited to the needs of patients with mild to moderate diabetes symptoms and blood sugar fluctuations. However, patients with poorly controlled diabetes and severe, frequent fluctuations in blood glucose levels may need a more comprehensive and ongoing approach to glucose monitoring on a short-term or long-term basis.
Fingerstick meters: pros and cons
These blood glucose meters offer a number of advantages for patients. Here are the pros and cons of Fingerstick meters monitoring system include the following:
• Fingerstick tests are highly portable and easy to take on the go. Testing can be performed almost anywhere, allowing patients to obtain a snapshot of current blood sugar levels quickly and accurately.
• These tests are among the most accurate types of metering systems and typically perform well over an extended period of time without requiring recalibration.
• The blood glucose readings provided by most fingerstick systems are displayed on a large-print digital display to make them easier to read.
These systems can also present significant challenges for some patients, including the following:
• Repeated jabbing of fingers or other areas of the body can cause irritation and pain for sensitive patients.
• By their very nature, fingerstick tests are designed to provide almost instant readings on blood sugar levels; they are unsuited to monitoring and management of glucose levels on an ongoing basis.
• Performing fingerstick tests can be time-consuming and may require patients to interrupt their scheduled activities to check blood sugar levels throughout the day.
For patients with a relatively good measure of control over their diabetes, such meters can be a solid way to record progress and manage their disease effectively. In some cases, however, continuous glucose monitoring systems may be a more practical and helpful choice.
Continuous glucose monitoring
Continuous blood sugar monitoring systems may be recommended for patients who have not yet achieved good control over their blood sugar fluctuations and who require an added degree of monitoring on an ongoing basis. These advanced systems are worn continually for up to a week and measure blood glucose levels at regular intervals, recording the data for later review by physicians and medical personnel. Lightweight and discreet, these monitoring systems can be worn throughout the day and night and provide valuable early warning for major fluctuations in blood sugar levels, allowing patients to act to prevent these events before they occur.
Fingerstick testing remains the standard for the initial stages of diabetes care. For some patients, however, advanced continuous glucose monitors can provide added benefits and increased information to allow for better control over diabetes symptoms.
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