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Why Do People Buy Diabetic Test Strips

by Lyndon Langley
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Why Do People Buy Diabetic Test Strips

Why Do People Buy Diabetic Test Strips

Diabetes affects more than 29 million Americans, and it can destroy many aspects of life — from vision to kidneys, feet and even limbs. But one aspect that gets overlooked is whether you’re using diabetic test strips correctly.
“People with diabetes should always have access to accurate testing supplies like test strips so they can monitor their health and manage their disease,” says Dr. Michael A. Petersen, professor and head of the Division of Endocrinology at Mayo Clinic Florida via email. “As we age, our bodies change and sometimes we may need to make adjustments to medications. It’s important to keep track of these changes by monitoring your health with regular self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) tests.”
The American Diabetes Association recommends SMBG on a daily basis for all adults diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The frequency depends on the individual because everyone responds differently to medication, diet and exercise.
When you take out a new strip, hold it up to light. If you see bubbles or lines, then you’ve tested your finger too soon. You’ll want to wait about five minutes before testing again. And while you’re waiting, check your meter to make sure there aren’t any errors. There could be problems if you’re wearing gloves or using a glucometer without calibration.
If you see no bubbles or lines when holding the test strip under a bright light, then you’ve tested too late. Wait another five minutes and try again.
You won’t want to test yourself if you’re sick, feverish or menstruating. Those conditions will affect your results.
And finally, don’t forget to wash your hands before and after each test. This prevents cross contamination between users and reduces the risk of infection.
What Are Glucose Test Sticks Used For?
There are two types of glucose test sticks used today: One contains glucose oxidase, which reacts with blood sugar to create hydrogen peroxide; the other uses glucose dehydrogenase, which produces electrons instead of hydrogen peroxide. Both work best in whole blood.
Either way, both stick to the same basic principle: Blood drawn from the fingertips is placed into the test strip where enzymes react with the blood to produce a chemical reaction. The colorimetric reader attached to the device measures the amount of time it takes for this reaction to occur. The speed of the reaction indicates the level of glucose present in the blood.
How Accurate Is Your Current Glucose Testing Method?
Before switching your current method over to diabetic test strips, you should do some research. Find out what range of readings you typically receive with your current method and compare them to those produced by a professional lab.
“It’s important to remember that not all meters have the same accuracy,” says Dr. Peter H. Babbitt, medical director of clinical laboratory services and associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio via email. “For example, Accutrend Plus has been shown to give higher readings than most others. I would recommend speaking with your healthcare provider about switching to diabetic test strips as a couple different brands of meters can impact treatment decisions.”
In addition to accuracy, you should consider cost. Most insurance plans cover diabetic test strips, but not all pharmacies carry them. Some chains might stock them near the pharmacist station, but that isn’t always convenient. So you’ll probably pay more for diabetic test strips than non-diabetics.
But prices can vary widely depending on location, manufacturer and competition. In general, diabetic test strips run $10-$50 per box of 100 strips, according to Diabetes Forecast.
Are There Any Side Effects From Using Diabetic Test Strips?
Some people experience minor side effects such as redness or irritation at the site of the test, but these shouldn’t stop you from continuing to use the test strips. More serious side effects include allergic reactions and infections, which require immediate attention.

Possible Allergic Reactions: Redness, swelling, itching, blisters, burning sensation around the site of the test, hives, rashes, skin rash, etc. These symptoms usually disappear within several hours once the test strip is removed.

Possible Infections: Hypersensitivity dermatitis, staphylococcus bacterial infections. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, pus drainage, warm feeling, redness, increased temperature, swollen lymph nodes, reddening of affected area, cellulites, abscesses, boils, carbuncles, folliculitis, impetigo, nail bed ulcerations, infected wounds, sinus tract infections, boils, carbuncles, cold sores, herpes zoster ophthalmicus (shingles).

Is It Safe To Share My Diagnosed Type Of Diabetes With Friends Or Family Members?
Yes. Just as people with high cholesterol or hypertension can share information about their condition with friends and family members, people with diabetes can talk freely about their condition and educate loved ones. They can help prevent future complications by following healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
However, sharing personal information online is risky. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can expose patients to predators looking for opportunities to steal private data or gain unauthorized access to accounts. Patients should avoid sending sensitive information through social media platforms. Instead, ask someone you trust to follow up with you directly.
What Happens When You Don’t Use Your Test Strip Regularly?
It’s recommended that diabetics use their test strips every day. That’s why the ADA strongly discourages stockpiling unused test strips and encourages patients to donate or recycle them.
Most manufacturers offer recycling programs for returned strips. Check with your local pharmacy to find out how to dispose of old test strips properly.
“Our goal is to reduce waste and increase availability of testing supplies for people with diabetes,” says Dr. Amy J. Lee, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy practice at Creighton University School of Pharmacy via email. “We encourage people with diabetes to participate in donation events and support organizations that provide free testing supplies to underserved communities.”
Testing strips expire after 12 months from opening date, although most companies will replace them.

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