How to Check Blood Sugar Without a Meter

If you have diabetes, you have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to maintaining your health. You need to be thoughtful about what you eat and drink. You need to ensure that you get regular exercise and that you have a dedicated healthcare team that can help you effectively manage your diabetes. And, critically, you need to vigilantly and accurately monitor your blood sugar levels.

Keeping your blood glucose levels in check can be the key to living a full, healthy life with diabetes. But while no one doubts the importance of blood sugar monitoring, no one particularly enjoys the process. This is especially so for those who keep track of their blood sugar using a glucometer.

Meters, as glucometers are also called, are the most widely available and affordable tools for checking blood sugar. They are used by tens of millions of people every day and provide instant and accurate results. But they have one big downside: they require the user to prick their finger to get a sample of blood, and do so multiple times a day.

Understandably, many folks don’t look forward to regularly causing themselves discomfort. Nor do people with diabetes enjoy breaking up their day or stopping whatever they’re doing to draw blood and put it on a test strip. That is why so many people look for alternatives to meters when it comes to blood sugar monitoring.

The good news is that the demand for alternatives has spurred innovations and new technologies that facilitate easy, convenient, and accurate blood sugar monitoring without the need for finger-pricking.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a proven, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that provides real-time glucose readings every few minutes through the use of a tiny sensor underneath the skin. This sensor measures your interstitial glucose level and then sends the data to a pager-like monitor or an app on your smartphone. An alarm will sound if your blood sugar becomes too high or too low.

With easy-to-use features that can help each person proactively record and track glucose levels—as well as provide valuable insights on data that helps manage exercise, meals, and daily health status—CGM is a game-changer for individuals with diabetes.

FreeStyle Libre

Another innovation in blood sugar monitoring that eliminates the need for finger-pricking is the Abbott FreeStyle Libre, which has dramatically improved the lives of people with diabetes by facilitating CGM.

Abbott introduced the popular tiny white sensor worn on the arm years ago along with a handheld scanner that users need to swipe over the sensor to get readings. In September 2020, Abbott Diabetes obtained international approval of its tiny  FreeStyle Libre 3 version outside the United States, with plans to bring it to the U.S. in the near future.

Libre 3 has several advantages over existing models, the biggest being the elimination of the need to scan the sensor. For many people, that continued need to scan before obtaining a result meant the Libre 2 still didn’t provide the ideal level of protection for high and low glucose levels. This is particularly important overnight, when hypoglycemia can be even more dangerous since users are asleep and not actively monitoring or experiencing symptoms.

Additionally, the new sensor is much smaller and thinner than previous versions, with about the same thickness as two pennies.

Whether you’ve been living with diabetes for years or if you’ve recently been on the lookout for the latest trends that can help beneficially impact your health, CGM could be the ideal solution for monitoring your blood sugar levels. Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.

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If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit www.freestylelibre.us for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18