Frequent blood glucose monitoring is an essential component of tight control, which has been proven to reduce the risk of complications. But frequent monitoring means sore fingers for most people. The TheraSense FreeStyle is a new blood glucose monitoring system that was designed from the start for alternative site testing — meaning no finger tip testing. It requires 0.3 microliters of blood, one-fifth of the next smallest meter (the FastTake using its new strips). Incorporating all the features we’ve come to expect from a meter, the FreeStyle sets the standard for smallest blood volume required for testing. Highly Recommended.
Key features of the FreeStyle include:
- Smallest blood volume required for testing (0.3 microliters)
- Alternative site testing
- Test results in 15 seconds
- A 250-test memory for storing blood sugar readings
- 14-day averaging
- Large, easy-to-read display
- Data interface port
- Displays blood sugar readings in mg/dL or mmol/L
- Five year warranty
Using the FreeStyle’s lancing device and a B-D UltraFine II lancet, we obtained blood samples from the forearm and finger tip (our tester prefers finger tips). The FreeStyle lancing device is best used on the arm, because the end is larger than other lancing devices. (An alternative lancing device cover is provided for those who prefer finger tip testing.) When doing forearm sampling, the clear end of the FreeStyle lancing device lets you see when you have enough blood to test. No pumping or milking is needed — just some pressure for a couple seconds. The lancing device depth is adjustable. Most people find testing on their forearm to be much less sensitive than using their fingertips. Our tester reported that it was painless.
Given the small blood requirement, getting a large enough sample was easy. In fact, you’re likely to get more blood from a paper cut. The FreeStyle test strip differs from traditional test strips in that you touch the strip side to the blood, not the strip end. You can touch either side of the strip to the blood, but you can only use one side for a given test. Results are very quick, averaging 15 seconds.
The FreeStyle stores the last 250 tests and provides a 14-day running average. Though the FreeStyle comes with a data port, software for consumer use is not yet available. It is coming soon, according to the company.
The FreeStyle uses two AAAA batteries, which are even smaller than the more common AAA batteries. At this time, these batteries are a little difficult to find.
The FreeStyle is an excellent choice for anyone who dislikes or is tired finger sticks. It’s also especially good for young children because of its very small blood requirement. Though it still requires a lancet to draw blood, the tiny blood volume and alternative site testing of the TheraSense FreeStyle has set a new standard for minimally invasive blood glucose monitoring. Highly Recommended.
- Ease of use: 10
- Features: 10 (250 memory with averaging, data port, thermometer to sense out of range, alternate site testing, very small blood volue)
- Speed of results: 9
- Suitability for use by children under ten years old: 10
- Suitability for use by children over ten years old: 10
- Cost: 2 (about US$70 per 100)
- Overall Rating: 51
1360 South Loop Road
Alameda, CA 94502
For Additional Information
- Grant’s Diabetes Town review of the FreeStyle