How Diabetes Test Strips Work

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 13, 2011

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Diabetic test strips are thin plastic pieces that are inserted into a glucose monitor for determining your blood glucose. Your finger is pricked to get a drop of blood into the test strip, after which the glucose meter can take the reading. The result gets displayed within seconds on the screen.


Process of Glucose Testing by a Diabetes Strip

  • The instrument with which your finger is pricked for testing is called lancet.
  • After pricking, as soon as the blood comes on the glucose strip, the glucose meter starts to measure the level of glucose.
  • The test strip has a chemical called glucose oxidase which reacts with the glucose of your blood to result in an acid called gluconic acid.
  • Gluconic acid reacts with another component of the testing strip called ferricyanide.
  • Ferricyanide and gluconic acid react to create ferrocyanide.
  • After the creation of ferrocyanide, the glucose meter passes current on the blood sample of the strip.
  • The ferrocyanide is a chemical which the device can read to display the amount of blood glucose on the blood sample. The result gets displayed on the glucose meter within seconds.

There are some glucose meters that take blood from the forearm and not the tip of the fingers. They have been so designed by the manufacturers because the fingers tend to get sensitive and calloused, i.e too hardened to be pricked. Everything other than the finger prick is the same in this method. Many patients prefer this type of glucose testing because the fleshy skin of the forearms does not pain much when pricked.

You need to choose a diabetes test strip meter that is most suitable for your purpose. You can choose from a variety of options such as:

  • Portable ones since their size are small.
  • Those that have the feature of glowing in the dark for night readings without switching on the light.
  • The cost of course! Please know the price of the test strips and that of the glucose meter before looking to purchase one. You need to monitor your diabetes condition constantly and this involves repeated use of test strips, which cannot be reused.

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