Guidelines for using diabetic test strips

A diabetic test strip is a significant part of the blood glucose monitoring systems that now make it easy for a diabetic patient to check and monitor blood sugar levels through the day. Diabetic strips are essentially small plastic strips that are coated with a chemical known as glucose oxidase. Using the lancet, the user draws and places a tiny drop of blood on the testing strip. The glucose oxidase on the diabetic testing strip undergoes a reaction with the glucose which is present in the blood and forms an acid known as gluconic acid. The diabetes test strips contain minute electric terminals that can measure the levels of gluconic acid produced by this chemical reaction. The intensity of the current generated by these electric nodes is what is measured by the glucose monitor and displayed on the screen.

Diabetic testing strips have a shelf life of about 18 months from the date of manufacture till expiry. Do not use a diabetic test strip past its expiry date, as an inaccurate reading is probable.

There are urine testing diabetic test strips that are available. They are similar in design to the strips used to test the blood glucose. Urine test strip analyzers are used in the same manner to verify the levels of glucose, bilirubin, ketones, creatinine, acetones, proteins, etc. that are present in a urine sample.

Correctly storing the diabetic test strips is essential. Always store them in the vial that comes along with the testing strips in an area that is not close to any heat source. And also not exposed to direct sunlight. Ensure that you replace the seal on the vial tightly every time you withdraw a test strip. Never leave a test strip open to air for it could alter the chemical composition of the strip. Also, these are intended only for a single use. Hence, ensure the careful disposal of a diabetic test strip after you have taken the blood glucose reading.

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