The OneTouch Ultra is a glucometer recently produced by Lifescan. The Ultra provides plasma-calibrated results as opposed to older OneTouch models which used the reflection method to read blood glucose. Plasma-calibration is the same method that hospital labs use to read blood glucose, and it is one of the most accurate methods available. Unfortunately for those of us who liked to think we were in reasonable control, plasma-calibrated results are approximately 12% higher than reflection results. The booklet claims that the meter uses a "glucose oxidase biosensor" to read glucose levels. From what I gather, this means that instead of using a reagent that changes color, the test strip generates an electrical impulse based on the volume of glucose in one microliter of blood.

The OneTouch Ultra can store up to 150 test results in memory, and can communicate with the latest version of the Lifescan tracking software via a serial cable from the data port. With the battery installed, it weighs only 1.5oz, and fits in the palm of my hand. The Ultra will read blood glucose levels from 20mg/dL to 600mg/dL; if you are outside that range you are so shit out of luck that it doesn't matter what the meter says.

The following procedure is for the OneTouch® Ultra® Glucometer but is very similar to many other glucometers.

How to Test Your Blood Glucose Level

Step 1.    Always remember to wash your hands and forearms with soap and water and dry properly before testing your blood glucose level.  Some physicians will tell you to use an alcohol swab at the test site but my glucometer information booklet said to only wash and dry the site.

Step 2.    Remove a test strip from the vial.  Recap the vial immediately.  Insert the test strip into the glucometer, contact bars end first and facing up, into the test port.  Push it in until it will go no further.  The meter will turn on and the display check will appear briefly.  Then the code number will appear, followed by the "apply blood" signal.

Step 3.    Acquiring and Applying Blood Sample:

You should have received a lancing device with your glucometer.  Set this device to the correct depth for the area you are going to draw blood from.  For example, you don't need a very deep pierce if you are going to draw blood from your fingertip.  However, if you choose to draw blood from your forearm a deeper lance setting is preferred.  Load the lancet, choose your depth setting and the site you are going to draw blood from, place the lance firmly on the site and press the plunger. 

Be sure to obtain a blood sample large enough to fill the confirmation window on your test strip.  When your glucometer appears to start counting down, then you know you've applied enough blood. If you get an error message, then you have not applied enough blood.

Step 4.    Accurate Results Quickly:

Your blood glucose test results will appear after the meter counts down from 5 to 1.  The results are stored in the glucometer's memory.  Once you get your result remove the test strip and that turns the meter off.

I find the OneTouch® Ultra® the best glucometer that I have used, out of the many that I have tried.  I always test on my forearm and it doesn't require a large amount of blood for the accurate result.  Also, you don't have sore fingers and it doesn't hurt to test your forearm. 

I was diagnosed as a type II diabetic this year and have attempted to use many different glucometers and encountered much frustration doing so.  I am not insulin dependent.  I only have to take medications.  In addition, all physicians will advise you to change your diet and to exercise to better control your blood glucose levels.

Source: LifeScan, Inc..OneTouch® Ultra® Information Booklet. Milpitas: LifeScan, Incorporated, 2003.

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