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Handheld Glucose Monitoring

Introduction – Handheld glucose monitoring devices emerged about 20 years ago, and they have been improving the lives of people living with diabetes ever since. Handheld devices provide a simple and easy to understand way of measuring the amount of glucose, or sugar that is in the bloodstream.

History – The handheld devices that we see today are derivative of early glucose testing methods. The first way diabetics tested their glucose was by applying a drop of blood from their fingertips and placing it on a reactant strip of paper. The chemicals on the paper would change color according to the level of glucose in the bloodstream. However, this method was difficult to interpret; it was not always clear on the exact level of glucose in the body because there was no way of showing a numerical value. Those using these strips would often have to consult their doctors for a proper reading.

Technological breakthrough – Then in 1971, there was a breakthrough that made glucose testing much easier. Anton Hubert Clemens developed a machine that measured glucose levels through interpreting the color of the strip of paper into a number. This method was much more accurate, and would be the basis of many glucose monitoring machines for years to come.

Current monitors – Handheld devices work on the same principle as Clemens’ device, but are smaller and easier to read. They feature the same type of chemical reactant strips originally used, which are inserted into the device. The device then displays the reading on a digital display. Handheld devices are starting to become ever easier to use. Devices are starting to require less blood to achieve an accurate reading, which causes minimal pain to the consumer.

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