Test strips are sold separately from glucose monitors and can be pricey. Although they can be mistaken for the latest fancy digital device, these gadgets come with lancets, which are used to poke the finger, and test strips, which is where you place the drop of blood before inserting it into the monitor to get a blood-sugar reading. The vast majority of your cost will come from glucose strips.
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On most afternoons, people arrive from across New York City with backpacks and plastic bags filled with boxes of small plastic strips, forming a line on the sidewalk outside a Harlem storefront. Each strip is a laminate of plastic and chemicals little bigger than a fingernail, a single-use diagnostic test for measuring blood sugar. More than 30 million Americans have Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and most use several test strips daily to monitor their condition.
Peggy Moreland, R. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
Recommended approaches to improve glycemic control include lifestyle modifications such as weight control, proper nutrition, and adequate exercise; the use of medications such as insulin and oral antidiabetes drugs; and self-monitoring of blood glucose SMBG. The purpose of SMBG is to collect detailed information about glucose levels across various time points each day and take appropriate action should those levels be outside the desired range. It has been suggested that patients can adjust food intake, physical activity, and pharmacotherapy in response to their blood glucose readings to better maintain optimal glycemic control on a day-to-day basis.
It may be tempting to judge a blood glucose meter solely by its initial cost. But given that someone testing their glucose levels four times a day can blow through more than test strips in a month, a glucose meter's true cost is best measured by how much you spend on test strips over time. In fact, some major manufacturers give away their meters for free because they recoup their losses on sales of test strips.
The prevalence of diabetes is increasing in low-resource settings; however, accessing glucose monitoring is extremely difficult and expensive in these regions. Work is being done to address the multitude of issues surrounding diabetes care in low-resource settings, but an affordable glucose monitoring solution has yet to be presented. An inkjet-printed test strip solution is being proposed as a solution to this problem.
As you scan your diabetes supply checklist and prepare for another trip to the pharmacy, you may wonder whether you could save some cash. And for good reason. Yet even though strips are just a fraction of the total diabetes cost for the entire population, their cost when purchased out of pocket can make a dent in a person's budget.