If you have diabetes, your blood-glucose meter is a critical tool that gives you the necessary insight as to what’s going on inside your body at a given moment—an absolutely essential piece of knowledge, particularly if you use insulin.
That’s why it’s important to ensure that your meter is functioning correctly and giving you accurate readings.
Start by periodically using a glucose solution provided by your meter’s manufacturer to test the accuracy of the results you’re getting.
And watch out for these factors that can affect your meter readings:
- Outdated test strips.
- Incompatible test strips. It’s actually possible with some meters to insert a strip that is not meant to be used with that meter. This can be a problem if you buy strips that are manufactured by another company; while test strips from non-meter manufacturers are usually fine, be sure that you’re buying the strip that that is made for your meter.
- Substances on your hands. For example, substances on the finger used for lancing, even a small amount that can’t be seen, may cause a high blood-glucose reading.
- Temperature changes. Your meter’s user’s manual (or web site) will tell you the temperature range in which your meters will function correctly.
- Wet fingers. Fluid mixing with blood may cause an inaccurate reading.
So, with these potential problems in mind, the Certified Diabetes Educators in the clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center recommend following these steps in testing:
- Before using the meter for the first time and again every few weeks, check your meter using the control solution. Once opened, the control solution is only good for three months. Label the control-solution bottle with the date when you opened it. Check the date and shake the control solution before using it. The value of the control solution should be in the target range printed on the strip’s container.
- Make sure the strips are not expired. Check the date on the strip container.
- Calibrate! Make sure the code on the strip container matches the code on the meter.
- Wash your hands in warm water and then dry them well.
- Massage your hands before checking.
- Select a site on one side of the center of a fingertip. Rotate sites for each check.
- Apply gentle pressure to a lanced finger to help the drop of blood form on the surface.
- Fill completely the strip’s target area with blood.
It’s important to get the most accurate meter reading when checking your blood-glucose levels. Knowing what can affect a reading will help ensure that your meter produces the most accurate output.
For more information:
- Click here for more information on diabetes and blood glucose.
- Click here for more on diabetes management.
- Click here for Joslin Diabetes Center videos.
- Click here to learn about Celtics’ star Ray Allen’s $3 for 3’s fundraiser for the Joslin Diabetes Center’s High Hopes Fund.
- Click here to learn more about Joslin Diabetes Center.