How does a diabetic meter work?

A meter measures an electric current in the blood that depends on the amount of glucose present. A sample of blood is placed on a small area of a test strip or disk. A special enzyme transfers electrons from glucose to a chemical in the strip, and the meter measures this flow of electrons as current. The amount of current depends on how much glucose is in the blood. This weak current flows through the strip and is measured in the meter. The meter produces an electronic reading of blood glucose levels in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).
Diabetic meters measure the amount of glucose in a drop of blood. The blood sample, usually taken from your fingertip, is placed on a disposable test strip that is coated with chemicals that react with glucose inserted into the meter. Inside the meter, the test strip is zapped with an electrical current and your blood sugar level is  displayed.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.