Blood glucose testing can be difficult and annoying. But for children with small hands and sensitive skin, and for adults with poor vision or limited dexterity, it may be especially trying. For these people, certain features may make or break the decision of which meter to buy.
People With Visual Impairments: A meter’s dimensions aren’t necessarily a good guide to the size of its display screen or the numbers that appear on it. If you have difficulty reading small type, make sure to try out a few meters in person. A meter with a backlight or a test-strip port light can help with testing at night or in dim lighting. Many meters have an audio function; some of these offer a Spanish-language option, too.
People With Limited Dexterity: If you have arthritis or neuropathy, injured or malformed hands, or live with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or muscular dystrophy, simply holding a meter steady or loading a test strip or lancing device can be challenging. If you have limited dexterity, you’ll want to try blood glucose testing before picking a meter: work the lancing device, handle the strips and meter buttons, and dispose of everything properly.
Inserting a test strip into the meter can be tough, too. The Breeze 2 meter holds a disk that lasts for 10 tests. With the Accu-Chek Compact Plus, you load the meter with a drum of test strips, and push a button to dispense a strip each time you check your blood glucose. Look for strips that aren’t individually packaged and containers that are easy to handle. Some lancing devices can also be loaded with drums of multiple lancets so that you don’t have to handle the tiny implements each time you replace one.
Children: Not all kids are the same when it comes to testing. Some children are more comfortable checking their own blood glucose than others, regardless of age. To make testing easier on tiny fingers, choose a meter that needs just a small blood sample size. You can help your child set a lancing device to the lowest depth setting, minimizing pain. For checking a child’s blood glucose at night, you might want a meter with a backlight on the display screen and an illuminated test-strip port.
Some kids might want a meter that comes in “cool” colors. Kids and adolescents who love video games can try the Didget, a meter that plugs directly into a handheld Nintendo DS system. A meter that communicates with a pump may also be a good choice. Examples include the Nova Max Link, OneTouch UltraLink, and OneTouch Ping, which is sold only with its companion insulin pump. A child who is still learning how to test may do better with a no-code or auto-code meter. And some types of packaging, like individually wrapped test strips, may be tough for kids to open.