Blood Glucose Monitoring

Blood Glucose Monitoring: What Is Blood Glucose?

The human body produces its own energy through aerobic metabolism (the use of oxygen and carbohydrates) and anaerobic metabolism (burning fats). When the body needs energy, it uses either aerobic or anaerobic processes. Aerobically means using oxygen. Anaerobically means using carbon dioxide gas. The two are not interchangeable because they do different things with the same fuel source. For example, when you burn fat, you release carbon dioxide into the air. If your lungs were full of carbon dioxide, then you would have breathable air inside them. However, if your lungs are empty of oxygen, then you will suffocate.

When your body burns carbohydrate (such as glucose), it releases glucose into the bloodstream via the liver and kidneys. The liver converts the glucose into glycogen which is stored in the muscles.

Glycogen stores are used up during exercise and then released back into circulation after rest.

Anaerobically, you break down food and produce waste products such as carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and water. These gases are burned off when you breathe out.

These substances are poisonous in large quantities and can be deadly.

Why Do We Test Blood Glucose?

Aerobic metabolism is how the body provides energy to its cells via oxygen. Since your heart requires a lot of energy, it has a high demand for oxygen. It is also very active tissue that requires fuel all the time. The oxygen levels in your blood must be tightly regulated. When you are born, you take your first breath and promptly get nauseous. Your body detects that the blood oxygen level in your arteries is low and triggers vomiting to release the contents of your stomach. The reason for the low oxygen level is because you have not yet had a chance to breathe. If you had waited one more second to take your first breath, your brain would have run out of oxygen. That would be an unpleasant experience.

This is why you must never play around with anaerobic metabolism. When you hold your breath, you are not allowing oxygen into your lungs and blood.

Over time, the purposeful deprivation of oxygen to your body causes hypoxia. The brain uses up the majority of the oxygen in the blood; this causes your brain’s blood oxygen level to plummet first.

Hypoxia can lead to several complications. It can cause organs and cells to malfunction or shut down completely.

The body becomes overwhelmed by the build-up of waste products and toxic anaerobic by-products. The side effects of an anaerobic metabolism include: bad breath, confusion, chest pain, cold skin, decreased activity, dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, shortness of breath, vomiting and weakness.

How Does Blood Glucose Monitor Work?

When you eat food, the digest it. The pancreas releases an enzyme called pancreatic amylase into your small intestine. This converts large carbohydrate molecules into smaller sugars so that they can be absorbed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. These smaller sugars are then carried through the portal vein to the liver. In the liver, any excess sugar is converted into glycogen and stored for later use. Any extra glycogen is released back into the bloodstream as glucose. The portal vein carries glucose-rich blood from the abdomen and digestive organs to the liver. It also carries oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and stomach back to the heart. Then, it is pumped through the aorta artery to the rest of the body.

There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. In type 1, the pancreas stops producing insulin completely.

In type 2, the pancreas gradually reduces insulin production until it is not able to keep up with the body’s need for it. In both cases, the body’s cells are starving for glucose. As a result, the level of blood sugar becomes dangerously high. To prevent this, people with both types of diabetes must check their blood glucose regularly.

One way of testing your blood glucose is called the dip-stick test. A drop of blood is placed on a strip of chemically treated paper.

A color change in the paper indicates what your blood glucose level is. These tests are fast, easy, and affordable. However, their main drawbacks are that they can only be used for a few hours before their results become unreliable and they can only test for a limited range of blood glucose levels: too high or too low.

A more advanced way is to send a drop of blood to a laboratory to be analyzed. This gives a much more accurate reading than the dip-stick test.

However, it is usually expensive and not readily available to most people.

The more you know about your blood glucose level, the easier it is to keep it within the normal range. Even though there is no known cure for diabetes, you can prevent or reduce many of the complications with proper care and treatment.

This includes frequent blood glucose monitoring and proper diet and lifestyle.

How Does a Blood Glucose Monitoring Machine Work?

Blood glucose monitors are used to test the level of glucose in the blood through the detection of electrical current passed through it. This electrical current is measured by a set of sensors, which converts the current into a number that indicates the amount of glucose in the blood. This number is then displayed on a screen so that you can read it.

How to Use a Blood Glucose Monitoring Machine?

Before you use the blood glucose monitor for the first time, you must perform a test-strip or a control-strip. This is called the initialization process.

First, the test-strip should be fully loaded into the machine. Then, select either “control solution” or “blood” on the screen of the machine.

Press the button below where it says “control”. If a control-strip is used, select it instead of the test-strip.

Once the control-strip is initialized, you can start using it with test-strips. To do this, pull off the lid from a test-strip and place it into the well on the monitor.

If you are using a control-strip, place it into the well. Then, press the button that says “control” on it. The machine will automatically draw in the strip.

The machine will now show your blood glucose level.

To read the test-strip, use the “glucose” button. This will give you a number that indicates exactly how much glucose is in your blood.

You can also see this by pressing the “history” button after you have done a test and before you have initialized another test-strip or control-strip.

The benefit of these machines is that they give you instant feedback. While they are easy to use, some checks by your doctor are still necessary.

What Are the Different Types of Blood Glucose Monitoring Machines and How Do They Work?

There are different types of blood monitoring machines that can be used for glucose testing. These include:

1. Sensor Strip Machine

These are the oldest form of blood glucose monitors. They involve dipping a sensor strip into the blood.

The strip changes color depending on the glucose levels in the blood.

2. Blood Drop Machine

This machine can be used for either a single drop of blood or a blood sample. A test-strip is placed into the machine and then put into the blood.

The result is displayed on a screen.

3. Infrared Machine

This machine, which can be used for either one or two samples, involves no insertion of test-strips. Instead, a painless swipe of a wand over the skin is used to get samples of blood, which are then tested.

The results are displayed on a screen.

4. Continuous Glucose Monitoring System

This system is slightly more complex than the other types of monitors and involves a sensor that is placed just under the skin to measure the amount of glucose in the fluid between the skin and muscles. A transmitter sends this information to a receiver, which displays the blood glucose level.

A patch is also placed on the skin to supply the sensor with energy. This type of system can be used for several days before it needs to be replaced.

While it is possible to measure blood glucose using urine and saliva monitoring, these are not as effective as methods since blood glucose doesn’t stay consistent in these other fluids, especially urine.

You can also use a smartphone to measure your blood glucose levels. Smartphone apps, such as GlucoSuccess, can check your blood glucose and store the information for you.

What Equipment Is Used With Blood Glucose Monitoring?

Blood glucose monitoring equipment includes:

blood glucose meters, which are the machines that test blood glucose

test strips, which react with blood to give a specific value of the blood glucose concentration

lancets, which are used to prick the skin and draw a drop of blood

Why Are Test Strips So Important in Diabetes Treatment?

Test strips are critical for effective diabetes care. With the wide range of monitoring systems available, it is important to use the right ones for your monitoring system.

Glucose test strips come in two forms. The first are control strips, which are used to calibrate the machine.

Without regular calibration, a blood glucose monitor will not give accurate results. Newer monitors do not require these strips since they are built-in and automatic. The second type of strip is the blood glucose test strip. These strips are dipped into a sample of blood to give a value of the blood glucose concentration.

How Do You Use a Blood Glucose Monitor?

You use a blood glucose monitor in the same way for every type of monitor. Before you start, wash your hands and clean the area you are going to poke with alcohol. This kills germs that could interfere with the glucose reading.

1. Choose Which Strip To Use

There are two types of strips that can be used with most monitors. These are the control strips, which are used to calibrate the monitor regularly, and blood glucose test strips that are used to measure the actual blood glucose level.

Your doctor should tell you which type you need.

2. Load the Strip into the Monitor

Load the strip into your machine, whether it’s a touch screen or a plunger. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions for your monitor.

3. Soft-Plunger Method

This method is used in the One Touch Profile and 301a Microflow monitors. These monitors use strips with a soft, circular tip.

Insert the strip into the meter’s slot.

Push the plunger down, until it stops.

4. Twist-Off Needle Method

This method is used in the Precision Quck-Check monitor. This type of monitor uses a strip with a solid needle attached to a cap.

Hold the meter’s barrel in one hand and the strip in the other.

Twist off the needle cap, but don’t touch the needle.

5. Calibrate Your Meter

Regardless of the meter you are using, you need to calibrate it before each use. Your owner’s manual will tell you how to do this.

Calibration is a simple process that makes sure your monitor tests blood glucose values correctly.

6. Use the Monitor

After calibration, you can start testing. Simply place a drop of blood on the strip, and wait for the results.

Some monitors will give you your blood glucose value immediately, while others will require you to enter it manually. Again, check your owner’s manual for instructions.

Things Needed Alcohol Swab

Glucometer

Glucose Strips (Control and Test)

Tips Glucose strips are classified by their speed of reaction with blood, which is measured in millimeters of red blood cells, or mm. The speed is usually written after the brand name on the box.

For example, Accu-Chek Aviva test strips are called “Accu-Chek Aviva Fast-Acting.”

Control strips must be used to calibrate you monitor. These strips are marked with a pattern that is compared to the meter’s reading.

If the blood gets dry before testing, you can add a few drops of blood from a finger prick to reactivate it.

Sources & references used in this article:

Blood glucose monitoring system by AP DeMarzo – US Patent 4,953,552, 1990 – Google Patents

Blood glucose monitoring system by JM Lepper Jr, MK Diab – US Patent 5,743,262, 1998 – Google Patents

Blood glucose monitoring system by JM Lepper Jr, MK Diab – US Patent 6,110,522, 2000 – Google Patents

Noninvasive blood glucose monitoring by DC Klonoff – Diabetes care, 1997 – Am Diabetes Assoc