Blood glucose monitoring is a very important part of diabetes management. In order to avoid diabetes-related complications, you need to constantly be aware of your rising blood glucose levels. As a result, diabetes patients need to use the glucose test strips on a regular basis. However, the high budget in which these are available often gives rise to the question “Can I Reuse Blood Glucose Test Strips?” Let us analyze the same in the article that follows and also see if the diabetes patients have other alternatives available at their disposal with which they can regularly be aware of their blood glucose levels.
Table of Contents
How do the Glucose Test Strips Work?
Let us first start by understanding how the test strips actually work. A typical glucose test strip mainly comprises of several different layers. The topmost layer mainly is responsible for soaking the blood that is used for testing of the blood sample. In the layers that follow, there is a layer that consists of an enzyme which reacts with your blood glucose, a layer that has chemicals responsible to complete the entire process before the enzymes and the other chemicals become less active. With the entire sample reaching the bottom layer, the electrons in the chemical are then transferred to the meter for smooth analysis. The entire reaction is then transferred through a circuit into the computer chip in which this process is converted into a reading and where you can also check your reading of the blood glucose levels.
How Often Should You Test Your Blood Glucose?
As we know, it is very important to regularly monitor your blood glucose levels if you are someone who suffers from diabetes. This is extremely important because if your blood has elevated levels of glucose, you are sure to face a lot of complications including heart-related conditions, kidney failure, amputations of different body parts, blindness, amongst a host of other problems.
The frequency with which you should test your blood glucose depends on a number of factors including the type of diabetes you suffer from and the type of insulin injections as well as other drugs that you are taking in, in order to manage diabetes. It is believed that the patients with type 1 diabetes should do these tests more frequently as compared to the ones who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes patients are often advised to check their blood sugar as much as four times a day. Not only that, in certain conditions, such as when you take insulin pump, or you are a pregnant woman, you are advised to test your blood glucose to as much as seven times in one day.
Expiration of the Test Trips
Most of the people often as the question “Do the test strips expire?” Well, to answer that, test strips will give the desired results as long as the enzymes within the strip are active. However, when you open the bottle of the strip, the same is exposed to the environmental humidity, dust, etc. and the process of the enzyme to degrade begins. However, if you close the bottle tightly after every use, you can safely assume that the strip will last for a long period of time ranging from around 6 months to even the expiration date as mentioned in the bottle of the strip.
Reusing the Test Strips
When you re-use the test strips, it has been found out that the accuracy with which the strip will tell you about your blood glucose shall be compromised.
The inaccuracy of the test results once you reuse the used test strips, is not advertised to a great extent by most of the companies selling these strips. However, one company that goes by the name Nipro Diagnostics and are the makers of Prestige Smart System warns their customers to never reuse their test strips. It has written about the same on their official website. The company also specifically mentions that you should not try to wipe the test strip with either water or alcohol.
If you happen to stick your already used strip into the blood glucose meter, you will find the result shall be invalid. In order to use the used test strip, sometimes you might try to wash away the blood through different means. Even then, the reading which you get cannot be trusted upon. The test strips have as much enzyme as is needed to conduct just one test and post that, the enzymes are not as active meaning that you cannot rerun your test accurately the second time.
However, if you follow the below-mentioned guidelines, you can plan your budget accordingly and can save on the test strips:
- Plan with your doctor as to what should be the number of tests that you have to perform in a day. Try to restrict the number of tests to as low as possible.
- You need to use test strips that are not branded to save some cost. There are brands of test strips that are of good quality and are available at affordable prices.
- You can make use of the various store loyalty cards and get some discounts on using the test strips.
- There are free samples which are distributed by many doctors as well as a few companies. You can also make use of them.
- You can find blood glucose test strips at a lower price on sites such as eBay and Amazon, amongst others.
Alternatives That Are Available
Most of the people look forward to reusing the blood glucose test strips because there are available at high costs. Since, as seen above, using the already used test strips can be harmful to your health, the following are a few alternatives that can be used instead:
You can buy a blood glucose monitor that is also easily available easily in any medicine shop. The brands of glucose monitor and test strips that belong to the store can be low-cost alternatives for you. There are many affordable brands of blood glucose meters that are available. A few include the following:
- ReliOn Micro
- ReliOn Ultima
- Bayer Contour Next Meter with 100 Test Strips
- TRUEtest Meter
We hope that the above article has been helpful in improving your understanding as to why it is not a very wise decision of reusing your blood glucose test strips and what can you do instead. Most of the people cannot afford the test strips hence they want to reuse the same ones. However, doing the same is not wise as it may lead to adverse health effects. There are other alternatives available which are not only available at affordable rates but can give you accurate results too!!