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When the meter doesn’t make sense

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There are a few common questions I get in clinic related to readings patients get when checking their blood sugars at home. You may have some questions of your own and I encourage you to write me with those so we can discuss them. Here are two of the most common questions I have been asked:{{more}}

1) Why do I get two different readings when I check my blood sugar just 5 minutes apart? There are few explanations here. Now if you mean a few points difference that can actually be normal function of the meter. I am sorry to say it, but glucose meters are not perfect! They are not as good as going to the lab and having your blood drawn. Every glucose meter on the market today has some margin of error of about 10% maximum if you test at the same time at different fingers. So if you say the numbers are up to about 20, even 30 points different, I would say I am not surprised. HOWEVER, if they are 100 points different then something is wrong. It is likely that one of the values is incorrect because of a bad test strip or too little blood being tested.

–2) Sometimes my blood readings don’t make sense at all, like a reading of 30 or HIGH when I feel fine. What is going on?

First let me say that if you EVER get a reading lower than 50, even if you feel well, please get a small glass of juice to drink until you can recheck. I know of enough people who felt fine one minute, then were passed out on the floor the next minute. Once you re-test and see that you are actually at 130 instead of 30, then you should start asking questions about your testing and if the meter is working properly. The first thing to do is find your Control solution -this is a small bottle of fake-blood that comes with the glucose meter kit. You should use a strip and test for sugar level using the control solution. The instruction booklet that came with the meter, or the side of the control solution bottle will tell you what the number should be. If your result is far off from that number then either the meter or the strips have gone bad and you need replacements.

Overall you should be able to rely on your meter. If you are further concerned about the readings that you get at home, one of he best ways to check it is by testing your meter while at your doctor’s visit so you can compare with the one in clinic. If there are a few points of difference, no big deal. But if you are getting 60-100 points of difference between the two readings, then something is wrong.

Any specific questions you have about your meter testing? Send them on to the SEARCHLIGHT and they will forward to me. Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD [email protected]

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227