Diabetes Support - Are blood sugar monitors expensive?

03-29-2013, 10:45 PM
I am a smidgen before pre-diabetic. Today my doctor recommended checking my blood sugar a few times a week but she said she can't write me a prescription for a monitor because my insurance won't pay for one. I'm looking on amazon right now. They're like, $11 - $20. Is that right? I have NO clue what I'm looking for, but if they're that inexpensive I might as well just order one.


03-29-2013, 11:04 PM
The monitors aren't that expensive but the strips are! The cheapest brand that I've seen available in stores is the Relion Prime from Walmart (http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?search_query=relion+prime&ic=16_0&Find=Find&indexId=13db5bd313ac&cdnHost=search-cdn.walmart.com&searchdropdowndiv=com.wm.module.305715.constraint&search_constraint=0). You might be able to find name brand meters and strips for comparable prices online though.

03-30-2013, 12:42 AM
Thanks! At this point, she said I should check a few times over the course of the day, once or twice a week - for about a month. Just to kind of check, I guess. So it wouldn't be as expensive as someone who has to test several times a day. Right now I am looking to see which one is easiest to use. If I have to read a book to get started, it will just sit on my desk.

03-30-2013, 09:17 AM
I agree that Relion is a good choice. When I was diagnosed type 2 I was in the hospital for something else. They gave me a Bayer meter and an RX for stips. I was still working then and I checked my insurance and the copay for Bayer strips was $50, but the copay for One Touch strips was only $30, so I got a One Touch meter at the drug store, free with a rebate, and then got the strips through my insurance. Then some company sent me a free Freestyle meter. They will give you the meter because they want you to buy their strips.

Some people who have full blown diabetes 1 or 2 use meters that you can record the information online or even on your Iphone. It is vital that they keep good records. All you need to do is test before and 2 hours after a meal to find out what foods spike your glucose and which ones don't and then adjust your diet accordingly. When I was diagnosed, they didn't tell me that. They just said "Test and record the info in this little book." They didn't tell me what to do with the info after I recorded it. I have learned that by talking to other diabetics.

Good luck to you. With weight loss and exercise you should be able to keep your glucose levels down and never get a diagnosis of actual diabetes. I wish I had known in advance.

03-30-2013, 10:37 AM
I got the Relion from Walmart when I was first diagnosed pre-D. My doc later was able to prescribe me a different one, and strips, but I started out on the Relion. It works, and isn't that expensive, even as strips go.

Checking your blood "1 or 2 times a day" isn't all that helpful, unless you check it in the context of fasting or eating.

Fasting (FBG)

Taking your BG when you first wake up, before you eat anything, gives you your Fasting Blood Glucose, or FBG. This is helpful to see whether you're creeping up into pre-D territory (above 100 and below 125) or into D territory (above 125).

Post Prandial (after meals), or PP

The other helpful reading is the post-prandial, or after-meal reading. You eat your meal, and you take your BG reading at one hour and two hours after you began eating. This shows how your blood sugar reacts to the food you're eating. At one hour it may still be quite elevated, but by two hours it should be back down. You're aiming for a 1 hour PP of less than 140 and a 2 hour PP of less than 120. If you get higher than that, your body is reacting strongly to the carbs (starches and sugars) in your meal, and you may want to cut back on them.

Personally, when I was diagnosed, I tested mostly breakfasts at first, so I could build a repertoire of "safe" meals (since I mostly eat the same 5 or 6 things for breakfast). Then I ate my safe breakfasts and began testing lunches. Once I had a bunch of safe lunches, too, I worked on testing dinners. They're the hardest because there's SO much variety, and we eat fast food a lot!

Over time, I now have a mental list of foods and meals that I can eat that I know won't spike me above 140. In fact, most don't move me above 120 or so, but that's because I'm fairly low carb.

Using this method allows you to build your safe repertoire of meals, and only use 2 strips a day (3 if you do FBG, too). After a while, you may only test your FBG once a week or so, and only test at 2 hours after a new meal, just to see that you're still on course.

I highly recommend Blood Sugar 101, especially the section "How to lower your blood sugar". It completely changed how I look at food. The site has a LOT of great info (including explanations of studies that have come out and she explains them in laymen's terms).


03-30-2013, 10:59 AM
Thanks, this is all very helpful. Why are doctors so vague about something so important? I have been reading BloodSugar101 after your recommendation in the other thread. All kinds of things I didn't know. Thank you thank you thank you!

08-18-2013, 08:53 AM
Accu-Check and One Touch both offer free meters, through their web sites. They are eager to provide the meters, because they make all of their money on the test strips.

08-18-2013, 09:12 AM
here in Canada, meters are virutally all free, you just fill out a form. Its the test strips that cost, and they are about 1/3 higher here than in the US, as far as I can tell from reading other posts. I haven't been to Walmart (never shop there myself) to check out the prices of strips, but have considered it.
Unfortunately, there is not much information about accuracy out there. The FDA and other agencies demand an accuracy within 20%, which is a pretty big swing, and all the monitors are within that.
I don't see anyone advertising a guaranteed accuracy, (they all say very accurate or most accurate etc) but at the lower levels that type 2 diabetics face, accuracy is what we want. I really want to know if I am truly low or not, or how high it is 2 hours after a meal. I want to tweak my numbers.
Consumer reports did a report recently, but still not much info to base it on.