Tuesday, March 5, 2013

iBG Star Blood Sugar Meter Review

Over the years, you might have noticed a subtle change in the Naturally Sweet Sisters - because goodness knows, I sure have.   Out is the toddler age and in seems to be the tween/teens.  Hold on to your seatbelts, because I think this is the time of life that becomes very interesting! 

Both sisters are growing up and becoming more and more interested in having a little 'say-so'.   (insert a wild -eyed mother! Just teasing.  Kind of.)

No longer am I able to just lay out an outfit or style their hair, they want to make sure that THEY feel like the style represents THEIR choices, not moms.  This natural change to becoming independent is no different when it comes to type 1 diabetes.  They want to voice an opinion about how they manage their type 1 diabetes and believe me, they want it to be as cool as possible!

Enter the iBG Star blood glucose monitoring system from Sanofi-Aventis US. 

When the iBG Star came onto the market during 2012, both of my girls were excited to learn that a new microscopic sized meter could be theirs.  For the first time ever, the girls explained to me, having a meter might actually be a cool thing to carry to school. 

Unfortunately, when the product launched neither one of my girls had an i-Anything, so I assumed that the iBG Star was out of their reach - at least for the time being. 

Then at one of our local JDRF Coffee Group meetings, a representative came to show us all the iBG Star in an up close and personal format.  It also happened to be on a day off from school, so both of the Naturally Sweet Sisters were in attendance.

As soon as the rep pulled out her sample meter, my oldest daughter perked up and nudged her little sister.  "Look!"  I heard an audible gasp and the next thing I remember, both girls were practically sitting on my lap with wide- eyed yearning.  "Pleeeeaaaaaasssssssseeeeeeee mama!!!  We need that!", they both said with excitement.

I have to admit, it WAS a cool meter.  Tiny and shiny - like a little bling accessory on your iPhone/iPod.

That circle is actually a quarter.  See how small the meter is?

My oldest daughter reminded me that we already solved one problem since Santa had graciously bestowed an iPod Touch on her.  Overhearing her, the rep explained that while having an iPod or an iPhone was great in storing data logs, it wasn't even necessary in using the meter.  The meter can run as a stand alone system without need an i-Anything.

Youngest daughter, still without an i-Anything, gave me a doubly hopeful look.  It was obvious that BOTH girls wanted to try this new meter.

However, there was still one other problem and that was being able to afford test strips since our current durable goods provider, Solara, does not have approval to sell  them.   The rep admitted that to date, the only distribution for the test strips was through pharmacies. 

Then, last week, Walgreen's (mentioned to me by a dear T1d mom who witnessed the sisters excitement) had a special for the meter for around $5.00.   A bonus was that the meter included 10 free strips.  I decided to go ahead and have two shipped to the girls and have them both review the meter. 

Out of the box, the meter comes with several items.

I kind of like the idea of all of the newer gadgets using the same micro usb cord.  Keep things simple!

The iBG Star blood glucose meter, lancets, dock connector cover, lancing device with cap - works with most BD ultra fine 33-gauge lancets, power adaptor, micro USB cable and control solution.  There is also a handy dandy reference guide, warranty card and a savings card for test strips. 

The best though, is that Sanofi-Aventis included 10 strips with each new meter.  Love!  There is nothing worse in my opinion, that receiving only a meter and nothing more.  I like to try new things right out of the box and not have to wait.  Plus at a $1.00 per strip and the entire box costing only $5.00, it is like getting strips for nothing!

Once you open the box, the iBG Star is fully charged and ready to go.  Another huge plus if you are impatient (like us!).  One click on the right hand side button to "wake" the meter, then insert the strip and wait for the picture of the strip and blood dot. 

Here is what we found.  The test was super fast and came in at 6 seconds.  The amount of blood needed for the strip is only .5 microliters.  In reading the manual, the meter will read out for any blood sample that is as low as 20 mg/dl and as high as 600 mg/dl.  There is NO coding (thank goodness because boy, did we despise that on some of the older meters) and the memory of the meter is up to 300 blood glucose readings. 

That's quite a bit from such a tiny meter!

Check out oldest daughter after her blood sugar test; her iBG Star meter reading was 148 mg/dl.  OK, so it was a GREAT reading, but I promise, I would have shown a dud too.  Remember, the only bad number is the one that you do not know!

But can you see the DexCom G4 right next to her iBG Star?  Well, here is the tricky thing; the iBG Star meter read out 148 mg/dl and the Dexcom G4 shows only 122 mg/dl.  However, see the arrow pointing up on the DexCom G4?  We took this reading AFTER dinner while oldest daughter is working on homework.  We ate soup, sandwiches and milk, so that reading on the DexCom G4 might be a little slower with the heavy fiber and protein slowing down the impact on her carbs. 

It is really too soon for us to have a good feel on how fast and how accurate the iBG Star is.  Unfortunately, with only 10 strips, I am not sure if I can get a great answer for a while. 

A few more pictures to show you how the iBG Star looks with the iPod Touch. 

The free software from the APP Store loaded in under 2 minutes and instantly, oldest daughter was able to customize her blood sugar reports.  She can also send me the information with a simple keystroke. 

One item that she is particularly excited about is discreetly using the meter.  From her point of view, less kids will notice the meter and more will just see it as "texting" not "testing".  For any tween, type 1 diabetes or not, fitting in is a common concern and this might be the thing to boost a little bit more of that confidence in self.

Really, see that happy face? 

That makes me interested in sticking this out.  Part of my reasoning is that oldest daughter is taking on more of her own care and finding out what SHE LIKES is much more important than what I like. 


Scott K. Johnson said...

I love the mete, mostly because it is SO small. Once I saw that I could use it even when it's not attached to the phone/pod, I jumped on it.

Still a struggle to get strips covered, which is the key point, right? I was lucky and got a bunch after I met my deductible last year. That made it a bit easier to swallow.

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

Hi Scott! That is fantastic and maybe a secret for all of us on the strips. I can't believe that our DME supplier can't send us these. I was also thinking/debating about using the $20.00 max out of pocket card to pick up a vial for oldest daughter to use at school. 10 strips is basically a single days worth. Not nearly enough to test but just enough to tease!!!