If you have diabetes, then you have a blood glucose monitoring system. It goes with the territory. Maybe you only use it once a week, maybe you use it 18 times a day! You might even have a CGM to go with it!
Whatever your case may be, you’ve got your awesomely handy blood glucose monitoring system to make sure you’re staying on track.
And you definitely don't actually call it a blood glucose monitoring system. 😂
Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems: A Brief History
Or maybe not so brief. People have been trying to account for excess sugar in their bodies since (at least) the Egyptian times!
That’s the first record we have of people acknowledging diabetes. By the early 19th century, physicians were able to detect excess sugar in the urine through various chemical tests.
Lab methods for blood sugar testing were being used by the end of the 19th century. In 1965, the world’s first ever blood glucose test strip was developed, and by 1970, the first blood glucose meter, the Ames Reflectance Meter (ARM), was born.
It was $495 and only available in doctors’ offices and hospital emergency rooms. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that people with diabetes had access to at-home blood glucose meters, like the Reflomat. Once self-monitoring blood glucose systems launched, they became the new norm by the late 1980s and saw major improvements from then on.
BGMs: What Do You Call Yours?
Blood glucose monitoring system or blood glucose monitor (BGM) is a mouthful. And for those of us who live with diabetes and use these things to check the amount of sugar in our blood every single day, we’re definitely not going to use a phrase like that each time we need to refer to our sidekick.
I’ve been referring to mine as my “meter” for as long as I can remember. But I know plenty of other people who’ve been much more creative with their naming game. My best friend from diabetes camp referred, lovingly, to hers as Maximillion.
We wanted to hear from you, so we took a poll in our One Drop Newsfeed. Keep in mind, options were pretty limited to standard names.
Most people are in the “meter” camp (where did we get that from?), and “glucometer” isn’t too far behind.
But the best part of this poll? The 3rd place option (and the corresponding comments). “Other.”
Turns out, just like my camp friend, some people like to get a bit more creative when it comes to their BGM-naming!
“I just call mine ‘The Sticker’... (Keeping it simple).” - John W.
“I call it ‘sugar baby’ or ‘poker pouch.’ Either one is good because I hate them both. Trying to get regulated so I can leave them both behind. I can't leave home without them. Who wants to be poked everyday. Not me!” - Sandra M.
“Dracula.” - Nik J.
“At first I called it my glucometer for the longest time. Then someone said that was too old school. Now I ask for my testing or my meter. I call my lancing device my stabber.” - Agnes K.
“I call all my stuff my kit. I keep my meter, strips, poker, and insulin pens and needles all together and it’s my kit.” - Fanicia L.
“Barb. I like to think of my BGM as a good, wholesome, faithful companion. Barb represents all those sentiments, and more.” - Lillian Y.
“I usually refer to my meter, strips, lancing device, pens and needles as my betes (bētēs). Not an uncommon comment: ‘Honey would you grab my betes for me?’ I think maybe my mom started that term. There were 3 of us type 1s in the house when I was growing up. I got it, then 2 years later my older brother got it, and 2 years later my mother!! You’d think it was contagious! (Just kidding).” - Steve W.
“I call it my ‘meter’ most often. I just told my Hubby I might start using a fancier word and call it my ‘blood buddy.’ He said, ‘please don’t.’ Hahaha!” - Roberta J.
“I call mine my ‘glucometer.’ My three year old calls hers her ‘mumomemer,’ lol!” - Kari R.
“My little vampire.” - Alexa S.
“He’s my pal, so Bud!” - Roger F.
“Old habits die hard, still call it a glucometer!!!” - Suze K.
We've come a long way!