Blood Glucose and Blood Pressure Home Testing

With great advancements seen in the technological sector, many people can now afford to buy their own medical equipment quite cheaply. Consequently, this has enabled those with blood sugar and blood pressure problems to carry out various medical tests from the comfort of their homes. With some little guidance from the doctors and the equipment manufacturers, the patients can do the tests on their own. The data gathered can then be shared with their doctors or nurses where further analysis and clear interpretation are necessary. Mendosa (1) argues that people are more interested in their own health than nurses and doctors. A patient will therefore be keen to perform the tests as per the instructions given. Whereas there are times when the nursing staff will be overwhelmed with work and as a result, not be able to work at their best, a patient examining himself will be very careful when taking the readings. There are a number of devices are available in the market to help in checking blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. Given that most people who are diabetic will also suffer from high blood pressure, it is now common to find dual-purpose devices that can be used to keep both blood sugar and blood pressure under check (Mendosa 1). Separate devices are, however, available for monitoring the blood sugar and blood pressure separately.

One device that is used to monitor both blood sugar levels and blood pressure is the Fora D20. The Fora D20 has a cuff attached to it. The cuff will usually be placed on one of the arms to take the measurements. According to Mendosa (1), Fora D20 works very much like other devices used to measure blood pressure. It will measure systolic pressure whenever the heart contracts or beats while the diastolic pressure will be taken when the patient’s heart is in a relaxed condition. Standard measurements are set for the systolic as well as the diastolic pressure. By correctly following the directions given in the manufacturer’s manual one can ensure that the device is used properly. The user can avoid many common mistakes that are made by nurses or doctors while doing the tests. Many times, the nurses will hurriedly take the measurements without giving the patient enough time to relax. More often than not, the rushed process only generates unreliable data (Mendosa 1). Fora D20 manufacturers discourage taking tests in such a hurried manner. They strongly recommend that the patient should be given enough time to relax before any measurements can be taken. MedPoint Advantage is a recognized distributor of Fora Care and makes Fora D20 available at a cost of $83.99 (Mendosa 1).

Glucose meter or glucometer is a device that is used to determine the level of glucose in the blood and is one of the key devices commonly used at home to monitor blood sugar (Wikipedia 1). To use the glucose meter, a diabetic person will place a small droplet of blood on a test strip; an element that contains chemicals that can react with the glucose present in the blood droplet. Some counterfeit testing strips have been found in the market and it is therefore very important to ensure that one gets the right quality of the test strip so as not to get accurate data from the meter. The testing strip is usually read by the glucose meter and the readings collected are then used by the glucose meter to calculate a value for the level of blood sugar in the body. After taking the measurements, the testing strip is of no further use and hence has to be disposed of (Wikipedia 1). The glucose meter is powered by a battery and its small size makes it quite a portability. The required blood sample is normally obtained by piercing different parts of the skin. The type of material used to make the testing strip may vary from one model to another and as a result, one may need to use codes so as to identify the strips to the meter (Wikipedia 1).

According to Gill (1), the glucose meter is a long-term companion for any person suffering from diabetes. Gill (1) has identified two different types of glucose meters. The lancet system is the option that is most commonly recommended by doctors to be used by patients at home. The other type is known as the continuous glucose system. Both types of glucose meters are made up of two parts. The lancet system is composed of the lancet device and the glucose meter while the continuous glucose monitoring is made up of a transmitter and a corresponding receiver (Gill 1). The glucose meter needle used to prick the skin is held in the lancet device. Before any pricking is done, the hands need to be washed using warm water. The part to be pierced is then cleaned with some alcohol to remove any form of dirt. This is then followed by a massage to the finger and a button is pushed to bring out the needle that then pierces the figure to produce a blood droplet. A test strip is then placed in the meter and its edge is made to touch the blood droplet. The test strip will then get the blood in and the glucose meter then reads the sugar level on the meter’s display (Gill 1). The operation of the continuous glucose monitoring system is quite different from that of the lancet system. A sensor or transmitter is placed under the skin and this is usually replaced either once or even twice a week. The blood sugar levels are usually sent to the monitor that one can easily move with. The monitor also contains a feature that alerts the patient of any anomalies that are detected.

The system will generate an alarm whenever the blood sugar level goes up or down. For both systems, there is software available that can be used to carry out the required analysis of the data gathered. Graphs of the blood sugar levels, as well as data comparisons, can be done over a chosen period of time. The cost of the continuous glucose monitoring system is, however, much higher than that of the lancet system (Gill 1).

Cloe (1) argues that the two major components of the glucose meter are the testing strip used only once and the monitor. For purposes of providing stability, the test strip is made with a solid plastic base. It also includes some chemical layers which are separated from one another. The system is made up of various layers that control how the system operates. One of these layers has been designed to register the current that flows within the system while other layers exist to offer protection to the chemical layers and to activate the necessary reactions between the chemical layers and the blood sample. The amount of glucose in the blood is then given by the glucose monitor based on the current flow detected. As the blood flows into the testing strip it comes into contact with the layer of glucose oxidase that then reacts with the glucose found in the blood to generate what is known as gluconic acid (Cloe 1).

Although the older models of glucose meter will require large amounts of blood, only a small drop is enough to do the test using the modern devices. Depending on the model, it will take anything between 3 to 60 seconds to read a testing strip. A small display window on the glucose meter is used to show the amount of glucose. The preferred unit of measurement will in most cases vary from one country to another (Wikipedia 1). The glucose meter also has a clock used for setting the date and time but also provides memory for previous test values. The data collected by the meter is can be downloaded by various means onto a computer for further manipulation. Ideally, the cost of the meter is meant to be high. Manufacturers will, however, make the glucose meters available at very subsidized prices with a hope that they can earn more from the continued supply of testing strips to the customers. According to Wikipedia (1), the cost of the glucose test strips was in the range of $0.35 to $1.00 in the year 2006.

Works Cited

Cloe, Adam. How Does a Glucose Monitor Work? Santa Monica, CA: Demand Media, Inc. 2011. Web.

Gill, Pauline. How Does a Glucose Monitor Meter Work? Santa Monica, CA: Demand Media, Inc. 2011. Web.

Mendosa, David. Testing Both Blood Glucose and Blood Pressure at Home. Arlington, VA United States: The HealthCentral Network, Inc. 2011. Web.

Wikipedia. Glucose Meter. San Francisco, CA: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2011. Web.

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