August 6, 2016

Helping Your Blood Glucose Meter Be Accurate

When used correctly, blood glucose meters — small devices that measure and display your blood glucose level — are usually accurate. But, occasionally they may be incorrect. Often the inaccuracy is caused by human error. Many people learn from the pharmacist and figure they know it all, but they never read the booklet that comes with the meter. Then they compound the problem by not reading the instructions that come with the test strips.

The following chart shows some of the problems:
Factors that affect accuracy
Test strip problems
Throw out damaged or outdated test strips. Store strips in their sealed container; keep them away from heat, moisture and humidity. Be sure the strips are meant for your specific glucose meter.
Extreme temperatures
Keep your glucose meter and test strips at room temperature.
Alcohol, dirt or other substances on your skin
Wash your hands with soap and water (as hot as you can tolerate). Dry your hands and the testing site thoroughly before pricking your skin.
Improper coding
Some meters must be coded to each container of test strips. Be sure the code number in the device matches the code number on the test strip container.
Meter problems
Fully insert the test strip into the meter before pricking your finger. Replace the meter battery as needed.
Not enough blood applied to the test strip
Move the test strip into a generous drop of blood. Let the blood wick into the test strip and completely fill the area on the test strip. Too little blood will cause an incorrect reading
Testing site location
If you're using a site other than your fingertip and you think the reading is wrong, test again using blood from a fingertip. Blood samples from alternate sites aren't as accurate as fingertip samples when your blood sugar level is rising or falling quickly.
The amount of red blood cells in your blood
If you are dehydrated or your red blood cell count is low (anemia), your test results may be less accurate.

If your meter isn't working properly, contact the manufacturer of your meter and test strips.

Other common mistakes is dumping too many test strips onto a dirty table and not using them in the required time. Didn't read that did you? Yet, I have seen this done by more people than I like. Only remove one strip from the test strip container at a time and close the lid. Do not do this in direct sunlight.

I have also seen this mistake done too often. People put the test strip in the meter, then hunt for the lancing device, and sometimes need to reassemble to lancing device before they can use it. This means that the test strip has been out too long and will probably give you an incorrect reading.

I suggest that you always have the lancing device out and ready to use first. Then remove the test strip from the container and close the lid. Then insert the test strip into the meter slot and set it down to be able to prick your side of a finger tip with the lancing device. Next pick up the lancing device and prick the side of your finger near the tip of your finger and make sure enough blood has risen to the surface. If needed milk (gently squeeze) the finger to have enough of a blood amount. Next set the lancing device down and pick up the meter with the test strip already inserted and slide the test strip into the blood at a 10 to 20 degree angle and let the blood wick into the test strip. Make sure that enough blood has completely filled the area of the test strip to obtain an accurate reading.

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