“ Brand: One Touch / Home Diagnostics / Type: Glucose „
Part of being diabetic is controlling your blood sugar levels and to help with this you will need a blood glucose meter, now I have several of these, none of which I have ever bought but acquired through various websites. However I think out of my collection my favourite on has to be the One Touch Easy Ultra meter. This is my newest addition to my metre collection, they come in a variety of colours, mines a pinky colour (probably why it is my favourite)
What the Meter Comes With
This particular meter is known as the One Touch Ultra Easy Blood Glucose Monitoring System and comes complete with all the equipment you need to monitor your blood sugar levels. When I had my metre it came with the following items.
The Meter (obviously) - This is made of a dark shiny pink plastic, it is a long thin meter, it is about 4" long and 1.5" wide, the meter itself is also quite thin. It has a display screen in the middle of the meter which displays various information which I will explain later. Whilst this is a small metre it is also very durable, I have dropped mine on many occasions and there still is not a mark on it, so this is a very hard wearing meter
One Touch Ultra Control Solution - This is a small bottle of solution which contains a known amount of glucose and it is used to check that your meter and the testing strips are working correctly should you have any concerns about them. You can even use this control solution to practise using the metre, this is particularly helpful for new diabetics. You use the solution by inserting a test strip into the meter and applying a small amount to the end of the strip (after setting the metre to the control test setting using the large button on the front of the meter. A reading will be displayed on the display screen this needs to be checked with the test range which is written on the side of the packet of test strips, each packet has a unique range.
One Touch Lancing Devise(or Pen) - This is the pen which you use to prick your finger with or as the book says your forearm or palm but I don't fancy either of these. The pen is about 3" long, I particularly like this pen as it is so small, I have various other ones but always use the One Touch pen with my other meter. The pen contains a small needle (or Lancet) to insert a needle you simply pull the end of the pen off, this removes very easily and push the needle into the small white holder inside, remove the cap of the needle and replace the pens lid. The depth of the needle can be altered by twisting the end of the pen, the One Touch Pen has 9 different depth levels, this is how deep the needle will go into your skin, if you have particularly think skin you will need to set the pen to a higher level. Once the needle has been inserted and the depth level set the pen is ready to be use, there is a small piece of plastic on the side of the pen, this slides back pulling the needle inside the pen with it, you will hear it click into place meaning it is ready to be used, to release the needle and ultimately prick you finger with the needle you press the small button on the side of the pen. Again this pen is made of sturdy black plastic (not pink to match the metre unfortunately) again this has been dropped more times then I can remember and again there is not a mark on it and it is still in perfect working order.
A Carry Case - This is a small fabric case to keep all of you One Touch Ultra equipment in, again unfortunately it is not pink to match the meter. The case opens with a zip which goes down one side of the case and across the top and the bottom of it meaning the case can be opened out flat. Inside there is a small moulded plastic area, this is where the metre clips in, the meter sits securely inside the plastic mould, meaning that it cannot fall out, next to this are 2 elasticated loop, one larger than the other, the smaller loop is to slide the pen into again holding it securely in place, the larger loop is for your pot of test strips. On the opposite side of the case is a mesh pocket which fastens with a zip, this can be used for whatever you like, personally I keep spare needles in mine. I particularly like the carry case for this metre as there is a space for everything meaning that you can keep all of your glucose testing equipment together securely. There is even a belt loop on this carry case however this is not something I personally would use. The whole kit when together inside the case is reasonably compact, for me this is handy as it means I can easily keep my meter inside my hand bag when I go out if I require.
Test Strips - Not all meters come with test strips you have to order these from your doctors, however my particular kit did come with a sample pack. The strips come in a small white tub. The strips are small and look like piece of plastic. One end is striped this end is inserted in to the metre, and the other end is yellow this is where you put a small drop of blood. Again I particularly like these strips as you need hardly any blood to get a reading.
Lancets (Needles) - Again not all kits come with these but as before mine did come with a few of them. The needles that my kit came with were made of small light blue plastic cases with the end of the needle poking out of the top. The actual sharp area of the needle is covered with a small cap which screws off when you are ready to use it. These just push into the end of the pen as previously described.
Battery - The meter takes just one battery which it comes complete with. It takes a watch style battery, the one in mine at the moment is a Sony CR2032 3 volt battery. It sits under a small removable cover on the back of the metre, I have never had to have a new battery in my metre making them very long lasting. However that is just as well as I have just gone to remove the cover to see what battery it takes and it has taken me ages to remove the back, the clip is very stiff, I'm not sure if this is a general thing with the metre or just mine, but be warned the back is not the easiest to remove should you need to replace the battery at any point. If the battery is low is will display a small picture of a battery on the display screen, it is best to change the battery as soon as possible incase it effects your readings.
One Touch Clear Cap - This is an alternative cap for the One Touch Ultra pen, it is made of clear plastic and replaces your pens usual lid should you wish to carry out blood glucose tests in your palm or forearm, as I said I do not fancy using these areas and have never even used the alternative cap so I cannot really comment on its effectiveness.
The Meter Itself
I have already described the size of the metre, but it does have various difference settings and functions. The metre is so easy to use, there are complicated buttons to press, this metre simply has one large grey button on the front of the meter next to the display screen. The display screen is quite large and probably take sup about half of the top of the meter, this is very useful as it makes reading your blood sugar results very easy, The is a small slot on one end of the metre, this is where the test strips are inserted. And that is it for the appearance of the meter, it is very simple and basic, but an excellent metre.
The Meters Features
To turn the metre on you use the large grey button, simply press and hold until three 8's appear on the screen. Once the metre has been turned on it is time to set the metre up. The One Touch Ultra meter has an option where you can set the time and date, metres I have had in the past have not had this function. Personally I find it very useful to have this on the display screen as it means when you look back at previous readings on the metre you can see what day and what time of day the reading was recorded. Again the time and date is set by using the large grey button, although one button it is split into 2 with an up and a down arrow on either side, you simply use the arrows to scroll through the numbers until you reach the correct ones, once set press and hold the button to turn the metre off saving the information you have just set.
Another feature of this metre is that it stores previous blood glucose readings, allowing you to go back and review them if you wish. The metre can store up to 500 test results, when you reach 500 you do not need to sit and delete all of the results the metre simply deletes the oldest reading itself and stores the newest one, this is very useful as I don't fancy sitting there for ages deleting 500 est results!!!!! When a test result is store it is also stored with the time, date and unit of measure (amount of blood on the strip) To review the test results you turn on the metre using the large button, it will display the newest result first, you then simply scroll through them using the arrows on either side of the button. Once finished press and hold the large button again to turn the meter off.
With this meter you can also download your test results onto the computer (have never done this so had to get the book out for details) The metre comes with a cable which plugs into the end of the metre and then into you computer. You will also need to install the correct software which comes with the metre onto you computer, according to the information book this is very easy and gives you instructions to follow. The metre needs to be turned off when downloading the results. Again the software provides step by step instructions of how to download the readings on your metre. This is something I have never tried but think I may have to find out the cable and give it a go, its got to be easier than reading through 500 results on your metre display screen!!!!!
OK I wont bore you with each and every error message this metre has as it seems to have quite a few. All of the error messages are displayed in the form of an E followed by a number. You will get an error message displayed if there is a problem with the metre or the test strip, or even if there is not enough blood on the end of the strip, the main one I have had is that there has not been enough blood on the strip to obtain a reading. Other error messages may be displayed if the metre has been stored in temperatures which are too high or too low, this happened to me when I was on holiday and took my metre down to the pool with me in my hand bag. The other 2 messages which your metre may display are not actual error messages but are messages if your blood glucose levels are either too high or too low for the metre to read. The letters LO are displayed if your levels are to low or HI if they are too high, I know that this metre can read levels of up to about 33.3 and levels as low as 1.1.
Result Range - 1.1 - 33.3
Calibration - Plasma - equivalent
Sample - Fresh Capillary whole blood
Sample Size - Minimum 1 microlitre
Test Time - 5 Seconds
Assay Method - Glucose oxidase biosensor
Metre Power Source - One replacement 3.0 Volt CR2030 lithium battery
Memory - 500 readings
Automatic Shut Off - 2 minutes after last action
Weight - 40 grams with battery
Overall this is my favourite blood glucose testing metre, whilst it has a range of features to make recording your test results more detailed it is very simple to use. The metre is very small both in its carry case and without it meaning it is easy to carry around with you. The case means that you can keep all of the equipment together. The metre is hard wearing and durable, it is a metre that would be suitable for both new and more experienced diabetics and comes in different colours so is suitable for everyone. The test strips are widely available meaning there is no problem obtaining replacements, and the pen takes pretty much any make of lancet needle you do not just have to use the One Touch range. This is a blood glucose testing metre that I would highly recommend.
I write this review in the full knowledge that it will be of limited interest to the general public, but of much greater practical use to the unfortunate minority of us who suffer from diabetes - both Type 1 & Type 2.
Anyone reading this review for a buying recommendation probably already knows a fair bit about diabetes. For anyone else, the comprehensive write-up of my own experiences dealing with the disease - elsewhere on this site - may make for useful background reading.
WHAT IT'S FOR
Diabetes is a patient managed condition, and a critical part of that management is the ability to monitor blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled high blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics is the primary cause of the degenerative conditions most associated with diabetes, including damage to the nervous and circulatory systems that can result in loss of sensation, loss of sight and, in severe cases, limb amputations.
In Type 1 diabetics, the more immediate risk is a hypoglycaemic episode (a "hypo") where blood sugars fall too low, causing lethargy, dizziness, blurred vision, slurring of speech, and excessive sweating. If a hypo is untreated, it will cause a coma and ultimately death. As such, it is imperative to have a simple and effective tool for monitoring blood sugar levels, and a plethora of devices are available on the market to do exactly that.
Most devices work on the same principle, so the main differentiator between them is usually form and style (i.e. much like mobile phones, they all have the same basic functions). The size of the blood sample needed to take an accurate reading, as well as post-purchase support are also useful comparators.
Having been recommended a "One Touch Ultra" as my first testing kit by my specialist, I have since used a variety of products in the Johnson & Johnson Lifescan "One Touch" range, culminating in the "One Touch Ultra Easy" ("OTE" for ease of reference) which is now my primary blood test kit. The OTE is available in a variety of other funky colours (pink, lime and black), but I have settled for a functional silver version.
> Note: This product is known as the "Ultra Mini" in the United States but it is identical in every respect to the "Ultra Easy" as its known in Europe. The picture included by DooYoo is for the US packaging.
HOW IT WORKS
The OTE is a very discreet size and measures around two and half inches long by one inch wide, and is around half an inch at its thickest. It has a simple monochrome LCD screen that shows the reading in nice large numbers and only one soft oval rubber button with an up arrow on one side and a down arrow on the other.
The unit can be turned on and off in two ways. Firstly, by pressing the rubber button and holding it down for a second or two, and secondly, by inserting a test strip into the receptacle at the top of the unit. In the first case, the unit will immediately show your last reading in mmol units (millimoles per litre - the world standard for blood glucose results), as well as the date and time of the test. You can then use the arrows to scroll back through your last five hundred (500) results.
If you insert a test strip, you will get the letter "C" followed by a number code. That code should match the number on your tube of test strips. If not, you use the up and down arrows to find the right number, and once you get there, the unit flashes three times and then sets the right code in its memory.
The "finger pricker" is a spring loaded compact tube with a hole in its pull-off top. You pop off the top and load the lancet in - it has a white base with a round "nib" on the end. The base fits securely into the pricker, and you then twist off the nib to reveal the sterile little pointy bit that does the actual pricking.
Once you are ready to go, you pull back the slide mechanism that "cocks" the spring, and then set the "depth" of the lancet by twisting the cap to select a value between one and ten (1 being shallow and 10 being deep). The loaded pricker sits very nicely and ergonomically in the palm of the hand.
When activated, the prick itself should be relatively painless. However, it all depends on your skin and the settings you use - I have found it difficult to find the right balance sometimes, especially as some of the "test spots" on the side of my fingers (the least painful area to test) have hardened after years of constant pricking.
You squeeze your finger to get the red stuff going. You need very little blood with this kit - the advertised amount is a micro litre (about the size of this "O") - and then apply it to the strip. The test strip draws the blood by a capillary action into the meter. Your test result is given in around 5 seconds (the meter counts down).
WHAT IT INCLUDES
When you take the kit out of the box, you will find a zip up cordura case with a belt loop and an exterior pouch secured by a Velcro tab. Inside the kit case is a zip up net pouch, with another small compartment behind it, and two elastic loops - one for the finger pricking device and one for the tube of test strips.
There is also a separate moulded hard rubber holder that the actual unit easily slides into and out of. You are provided with a starter tube of ten test strips, ten lancets, a battery and a small container of "control" solution.
I tend to use the interior pouches and pockets for extra lancets - which I swap out every ten tests or so - and the control solution, but they are also useful for keeping emergency doses of meds (if you need them). A colleague with Type 1 keeps a supply of glucose tablets in his in case he has a hypo.
INSTRUCTIONS & WARRANTY
There is also a detailed instruction booklet and a registration card which, on completion and submission, entitles purchasers to a 3 year warranty, access to the free Customer Care helpline, and free batteries and control solution for the life of the product. The instructions are in easy to follow English-only text, but with detailed step-by step pictorial representations of the instructions, which are ideal for those with bad eyesight.
The OTE is a very compact piece of kit. I don't keep it on my belt, but the option is there if I want to. It fits discreetly and unobtrusively into my briefcase or desk drawer at work. I usually test around three days a week, once before I eat breakfast (fasting) and then again mid-afternoon (around two hours after lunch) so I keep it in my desk at work.
I have a larger, more complex unit at home (same family of products to take advantage of the same strips) which I uses some evenings and weekends, so I don't tend to take it back and forth. The OT will be my meter of choice when I go on holiday in a few weeks.
The OTE is relatively hassle free. A test solution is provided so that you can calibrate the unit. The instructions advise you to do this once a week, when you open a new coded tube of strips, or have an unexpectedly high test result. That said, I only tend to do it four or five times a year.
Both the control solution and the test strips have expiration dates and it is not advisable to use either if they are out of date, as accuracy of results could be affected. Control solution is replaced free of charge by Lifescan for users who register on the web site (more on that later).
PRICE & RUNNING COSTS
The kit uses three consumable items: (a) a CR2032 battery 3 volt lithium battery that lasts for around a year of moderate use; (b) test strips, which are normally purchased in boxes of two tubes of 25 strips each and are available on prescription; and (c) lancets, which come in boxes of 100 and are also available on prescription.
The meter itself is the only appreciable outlay for diagnosed diabetics under GP care who have an NHS medical exemption certificate. I don't think the meter itself is available on prescription. I picked mine up from an internet retailer for a very reasonable £10, which was discounted from the £12.99 RRP.
For anyone buying a meter for personal use (i.e. non-GP prescribed), or in an emergency without a prescription (as I have had to do abroad on occasion) the test strips are quite expensive at around £22.00 per box. The lancets less so at around £10. To put this in context, I go through around 250 test strips per year, but am only on the second box of 100 lancets since I was originally diagnosed six years ago. Simple maths will tell you that this puts the running costs of this meter around £100 a year.
One of the best parts of owning this product, and this company in general, is the excellent after-care service and support. As long as you register for the warranty, you will get free batteries and control solution for the life of the product. I have used this service a number of times (usually by e-mail) and have received the replacements within three working days.
The Customer Care line is available from Monday to Friday 8.30am until 6pm and Saturday 9am until 1pm, and they promise to answer within three rings. That doesn't mean that an automatic touch tone option is presented to you after three rings - it means you get to talk to an actual human being.
I have used it three times over the life of my One Touch products and they have always been true to their words. It still amazes me that they can give this sort of dedicated, expert support for what is essentially a £10 product (granted the strips are expensive, but even so...)
For convenience, discretion, portability and practicality, its hard to beat this meter. Add that to exceptional customer service and support, and outstanding value for money, and its easy to understand why this is my meter of choice.
© Hishyeness 2009
Introducing the new OneTouch UltraMini Blood Glucose Meter! No bells, no whistles, no complicated screens - just the number you want from our smallest meter. Included with your meter: Free Diabetes Education The OneTouch UltraMini Meter comes complete with a unique educational Simple Start Diabetes+Food booklet that can help you manage your diabetes around meals. The booklet offers: Basic diabetes education. Information about carbohydrate management, portion control, reading food labels and more. Information about why and how to use blood glucose monitoring to make appropriate food choices. Tips for making simple adjustments so you can still enjoy the foods you love. Your OneTouch UltraMini System Kit includes: OneTouch UltraMini Blood Glucose Meter (batteries included), OneTouch Lancing Device, One Touch Ultra Control Solution, 10 OneTouch UltraSoft Lancets, OneTouch AST Clear Cap for testing on forearm* or palm, Mini Carrying Case, Logbook, Owner's Booklet, Quick Reference Guide, Quick Start Guide, Simple Start Educational Booklet. *Read the owner's booklet and talk with your doctor before forearm or palm testing.