Home testing kits on the march

October 8, 2007

Diabetes patients have new home tests available to help monitor their blood glucose levels.

Home testing kits to help diabetes patients monitor their blood glucose levels have greatly evolved in recent years. Advanced blood glucose sensors, also known as continuous glucose monitors, are the latest home testing products marketed to diabetes patients with assurances that they will revolutionize the way the disease is managed. Many of these products have been approved by the Food & Drug Administration just within the past two years.

But as with the more traditional models, the skin still must be pricked to obtain results, although noninvasive technology is under development. The systems work by inserting a small, disposable sensor under the skin via a tiny, flexible probe. The sensor measures changes in glucose levels in the interstitial fluid and transmits the information to a beeper-sized box that stores the results.

With so many monitors on the market, it can be difficult for a patient to choose a product. Most monitors are typically covered by health insurance and offer the same basic features, but they may vary depending on cost, size, and ease of use. Additionally, most blood glucose monitors today interact with data management systems, allowing results to be downloaded and sent to physicians.