Blood glucose meters may have more uses than helping people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes manage their health

Many individuals who have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes use blood glucose meters to check their blood sugar levels periodically throughout the day.

These devices not only help people avoid instances of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, but they also aid in diabetes management because users can track their results and show their physicians the progress that they have made in between visits.

Now, a study published in the journal Nature Chemistry has shown that the technology used in blood glucose meters may help simplify healthcare for people who have conditions other than type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

The researchers explained that similar tools can be used to measure amounts of specific molecules in blood, serum, water or food.

They said that the devices use functional DNA sensors, which bind to target molecules found in drugs, disease markers, contaminants or other particles.

"Our method significantly expands the range of targets the glucose monitor can detect. It is simple enough for someone to use at home, without the high costs and long waiting period of going to the clinics or sending samples to professional labs," said researcher Yi Lu.

Although blood glucose meters can tell users who have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes what their blood sugar levels are at a given moment, they do not give a complete overview of how well an individual has managed these amounts.

This is one reason why the American Diabetes Association recommends regular HbA1c tests for people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. These screenings account for a person's average blood sugar levels over the course of the previous three months.

The organization also states that individuals who feel symptoms of hypoglycemia should check their blood sugar levels 15 minutes later if they initially receive a normal reading, since blood glucose meters may not be able to detect changes in blood glucose sugar immediately.