As a budding medical student, I am quite fond of taking care of myself and others around the house! As part of our medical set, we have a glucose monitor, which can be a useful indicator for several problems, and is also ideal for simply monitoring your sugar levels to prevent diabetes, or for those with diabetes. It's quite a simple device to use and the price is just right but you do have to pay a lot more for the new testing strips - just like when you have to buy more cartridges for a printer, that's the expense!
The device came in a cardboard box, which was easy to open and contained the main monitor along with some testing strips and a thumb sticker loaded with 6 lancets. You simply prick yourself to get a little bit of blood out upon squeezing, let the drop go onto the testing stick and then insert it into the machine. The strips have little chips in them to keep the data recorded on them once they go in.
The thumb sticker is quite simple to use - you just press the button at the top once it's pressed firmly on your skin. There is a specific location you should get blood from, which is on your thumb on the side of it beside the nail. A prick here should get enough blood going. If you have any problems (you shouldn't as you only need a little drop), try warming your hands first and also holding your arm and hand down whilst giving it a little squeeze. The prick doesn't really hurt much and with some regular use you get used to it anyway!
You simply stick it in the machine with the microchip facing inwards and it takes the reading. You can either have the reading in mmol/l or mg/dl. Around 80-110 mg/dl is normal or 4.4-6.1 mg/dl. The machine works very quickly in about 5 seconds of putting the chip in and it's easy to use. It stores short term memory of results so you can always view these.
It's not really too painful to use and is quite useful for just £10.99. The expense is for the new testing strips with the chips as they cost around £24 for 50 strips, so it's pretty much 50p a strip! When you are using this regularly with a diabetic, I imagine the costs must add up extremely quickly. It's useful to have at home though and can go towards a set of objects for simple self-medical diagnoses!
Thanks for reading!
My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last October and has used the Accu-chek Aviva monitor ever since leaving hospital the following day.
A glucose meter checks the level of glucose in your blood. This is something that diabetics have to be very careful with as they can get quite ill if they have too much, or too little glucose in their blood.
When my son was in hospital the monitor they used (I can't remember what kind it was) was quite fiddly and took a while to set up. You had to...
Turn the monitor on
Insert a strip into the monitor
Take the lid off the lancing device (LD)
Insert the needle
Twist the cap off the needle (lancet)
Put the lid back on the LD
Then obviously prick the finger and touch the blood to the end of the strip to test. Basically, it was a hassle. The needle also seemed to hurt him a lot, so the nurse suggested the Accu-chek Aviva, as it is a lot quicker and apparently hurts less than the standard hospital issued monitor.
With the Aviva you have to...
Insert the strip
Push the end of the LD to load the needle
As you can see, it is a lot quicker, easier, and safer. The Aviva monitor comes with a Multiclix LD. The Multiclix LD measures 12.5 cm x 1.5 diameter and uses cartridges that contain six needles. The cartridge is a small plastic circular tube with holes in the top. You simply take the lid off the LD, push a cartridge in, and replace the lid.
To change the needle you simply twist the end of the LD (the blue section at the top of the LD that is pictured). You can tell how many needles you have used/have left as, when you insert a cartridge, the LD displays five white lines (you can see them towards the top of the LD). Every time you twist, a line disappears, and when there are no lines, you know that you only have one needle left.
It is also very simple to replace the cartridge as you simply pull it out and push another in.
This means that you never have to touch a needle, which is great for children as my son can now use this by himself, if he had stuck with the other monitor than he probably would not be able to do this. It also means that you can throw the cartridges away in any bin as there is no risk of harm.
As I previously mentioned, to prime (load) the needle you have to push the end of the LD. You can tell when it is in place as the clear button (towards the bottom of the LD on the pic) turns yellow. When pressed against the finger, you push the yellow button to use. This will reset the button. You can also adjust how far the needle goes; you simply adjust the end of the LD to display your preferred number, this can be anything from 0.5 to 5.5 so there are a total of eleven settings, making the Multiclix LD suitable for all ages. My son actually has his set to number 4, although this is because he prefers to just hold the LD next to his finger rather than push tight against it, as is the usual method. If he did it this way, his LD would probably be set on 2-2.5.
The monitor itself is quite small and sleek; it fits in your hand comfortably and measures 9.4 x 5.3 (at the widest point) x 2.2 cm. It has a 4 x 3 cm screen and two chunky buttons. To simply check your blood sugar you do not need to use the buttons. You simply push a test strip into the slot at the bottom of the monitor. Wait for the picture (a small blood drop), then transfer the blood to the strip.
Waiting for the picture, and waiting for the results takes about two seconds each, so it is a relatively quick process.
The meter will hold up to 500 readings, which is really handy for if you lose your monitoring diary. It also gives you a 7, 14 and 30 day average reading so you can keep a tighter check of your results. It also keeps a note of the date and time, which can be important to look at if you test at differing times.
It can also set up to four reminders everyday to remind you to check. I haven't used this feature as we are set in a routine anyway. This would probably be a useful feature for teenagers who tend to have a less regimented eating schedule.
The battery, a large flat round one (not sure what they're called?), lasts a very long time - around 1000 uses; which, if used 3 times a day (ie before every meal), will last for a year.
My verdict... I find the Aviva monitor a great all-rounder. I am actually after an upgrade at the moment to the Accu-check Compact plus (uses a cartridge for the test strips as well making it even easier!). But, based on its own merits, the Aviva is an excellent monitor, we have four in use (home, school, dad's house, and grandma's house) and each one has always worked perfectly.
My son's verdict... 'It's really good because it doesn't hurt anymore, and when I do it I get something to eat after.' ... Lol!
I therefore have to award the Accu-chek Aviva monitor.... 5 stars!