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Diabetes - detection kits

Q: I have a 67 year old diabetic mother. I would like to buy a diabetes test kit to use at home and many brands available in the market. Could you tell how far these kits are accurate compared with laboratory tests. Please suggest which brand is better.

A:These kits have a reasonable level of accuracy, but not as much as a properly done laboratory test in a venous blood sample. Therefore home kits should not be used for diagnosis, but are very useful, if properly used, for management in a diagnosed diabetic like your mother. A number of brands are available in India. Ask the dealers:

  • for a demo to see how easy or difficult it is to use.
  • what the price of the meter as well as the strips (remember that the recurrent cost is that of the strips) is,
  • how long the warranty is and what the warranty covers,
  • how large the network is for supplies and repairs
  • how easily the batteries used in the meters are available,
  • how long that particular company has been in the Indian market.
Do not hesitate to ask questions and shop around before making a decision. I would suggest a meter which is not very difficult to use, has strips which fit in your budget, from a company which have an Indian base rather than imported meters, since servicing of meters whose companies are have no base in India may be difficult. For the same reason, I think it is better to buy in India with a receipt and a warranty rather than requesting someone to get a meter from abroad.

If cost is a constraint, keep in mind that the latest technology is much more expensive, and a model which is a bit older may be almost just as good. Buying from a distributor rather than a retailer is always a bit cheaper and somewhat more reliable.Also talk to your treating doctor, and any sensible friends who are using meters, as they may give you valuable tips from their own experience.

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