Home glucose monitors put to the test

Diabetes patients Marc Perton and John McCowen keep a close eye on their blood sugar.

They are two of the five staffers at Consumer Reports who served as panelists for the home glucose-monitor testing.

"I personally test myself twice a day, once in the morning and once at night," said McCowen.

Consumer Reports had the panelists test 13 home glucose monitors for ease of use and asked an outside lab to check for accuracy.

"Accuracy is very important," said Dr. Orly Avitzur, Consumer Reports.

Dr. Avitzur says fluctuating readings can impact care.

"The problem if someone gets inaccurate or inconsistent test results is that the medication that they administer would be the wrong dose and that could lead to either too serious a drop in blood sugar or a blood sugar that's too high, and both could lead to serious health consequences," said Dr. Avitzur.

The tests found some of the home glucose monitors performed better than others. Top ratings went to the One Touch Ultra Mini. It delivered consistent, accurate readings in about five seconds and it's easy to use. It costs $20, plus a $1.14 for each strip.

Tests also gave high marks to the $9 ReliOn Ultima sold at Wal-Mart. It earned very good scores for consistency and accuracy, and its strips cost just 44 cents a piece.

Insurance may cover the cost of a blood-glucose monitor, as well as testing supplies, so it's worth checking with your insurer to see if you've got coverage.



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