A history of blood glucose meters and their role in self-monitoring of diabetes mellitus

Br J Biomed Sci. 2012;69(2):83-93.


Self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG) systems have the potential to play an important role in the management of diabetes and in the reduction of risk of serious secondary clinical complications. This review describes the transition from simple urine sugar screening tests to sophisticated meter and reagent strip systems to monitor blood glucose. Significant developments in design and technology over the past four decades are described since the first meter was introduced in 1970. Factors that have influenced this evolution and the challenges to improve analytical performance are discussed. Current issues in the role of SMBG from the clinical, patient and manufacturer perspectives, notably adherence, costs and regulations, are also considered.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / history*
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus / urine
  • Equipment Design
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin