April 5


Important Things We Must Know About Glucose Test Strips

By Gabriela

April 5, 2018

It is very easy to overlook the test strips due to their high price tag. But, these strips contain a layer upon layer of cutting-edge technology, engineering, and science. They prove that technology can make life with diabetes easier.

Test strips or blood glucose test strips play a crucial role in blood sugar testing. These tiny disposable strips may seem insignificant, but they play a very important role in helping people control and monitor their chronic condition.

In most cases, each meter can take only one type of strip. But, there are some blood sugar meters that require blood ketone strips to test the ketone levels.

Here is everything people need to know about glucose test strips.

Glucose Test Strips: How Do They Work?

When an individual places a drop of blood on the test strip, it starts to react with the glucose oxidase, a chemical that produces gluconic acid from the sugar in the blood. From the other edge of the test strip, the meter starts to transfer a current to the other side.

These electric terminals allow the meter to properly measure the current transferred between the terminals. Based on the released amount of the gluconic acid, the current between the terminals begins to change.

If more blood is necessary during testing, some blood sugar test strips will allow the reapplication of additional blood. Also, the amount of blood necessary for a test strip may vary from a brand to a brand. The usual amount required for testing is between 0.5 μl to 1 μl.

Also, there are some test strips, which are not highly used, that don’t require a meter. If an individual places blood on the active part of the strip and wipe it off in a couple of seconds, the reagent will cause the color to change.

To obtain the necessary results, simply match the color gained with the color chart that is located on the side of the pot. This is often a less accurate alternative than using the blood glucose meter, but it is cheaper.

Where Can I Buy Test Strips?

People who live in the UK, can obtain blood glucose test strips on prescription, free, or purchase them online or from pharmacies. Also, anyone with type 1 can qualify for free test strips or on prescription.

Also, those who have other types of diabetes or require no insulin treatments may obtain test strips on prescription. However, this may be determined based on an individual basis.

Specifically, in the UK, those with the condition who need to purchase test strips are exempt from paying VAT. Ask the pharmacy to give you a VAT exemption form.

How Long Do Test Strips Last?

Blood glucose test strips usually have an expiration or use by date on the box. After opening the box, these strips will typically last for 3 to 6 months. But, it all depends on the brand people use. If people have plenty of boxes, it is best to use the oldest one they have.

This way, they won’t let it expire.

Why Are Blood Glucose Test Strips So Expensive?

Blood glucose test strips in the U.S. are very expensive. They are not as easily obtainable as in the UK. Only in 2013, manufacturers from the U.S. made a stunning $463 million profit from these strips.

Which is why many people usually wonder why on earth are these products so expensive.

Well, the main factor is the production cost. These strips are actually made of gold and palladium used for circuits. The palladium and gold make the test strips work with great precision and accuracy.

Also, manufacturers use chemicals and enzyme in the process, which also increase the price tag of these strips. Advertising is also a big factor. As people can see, there is a lot of investment that goes into the creation, design, and maintenance of these strips.

That is why they are incredibly expensive. Luckily, they are easily obtainable for those with the condition in the UK.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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