I am participating in July’s DSMA Blog Carnival. The prompt for this month is:
Blood glucose. It’s front and center when it comes to diabetes. It is how we get diagnosed and it is what we are trying to manage. An important tool we use to manage our blood glucose is our meter and its strips. But what happens if our meters aren’t giving reliable information? Let’s explore that this month as we discuss a topic from the June 26th chat Fill in the Blank. Weigh in on the following statement:
Test strip accuracy is important to me because______.
I had never thought of test strip accuracy until recently. Sure, every now and then (more like every 5 years but I did do it about 2 months ago) I will buy the test solution to make sure it’s “accurate” but that’s really all the thought I gave to test strip accuracy. This subject has recently caught my attention as several bloggers in the Diabetes Online Community have discussed “Strip Safely“. If you haven’t taken the quiz at Strip Safely’s website, I definitely recommend it. It is quite eye opening. I won’t recap the information in the quiz (seriously, go take the quiz!) but I thought Sweetly Voiced wrote a nice article on it.
Basically, blood glucose meters can be within 20% accuracy. So if my meter says 100, I could be anywhere between 80 and 120. Or if my meter said 300, I could be 240 or I could be 360…that’s a huge range! Relating this back to the topic, test strip accuracy is important to me because my diabetes control depends on it. If my meter said 300 but I was really 360, I wouldn’t be treating my high blood sugar with enough insulin. If my meter says 80 but I’m really 64, I wouldn’t be treating a low that I otherwise would be treating. Last year, my A1C was 7.1 (my lowest ever) and I wasn’t even paying that much attention to my diabetes. I would have high blood sugars overnight and be in the 150 range during the day. I never had low blood sugars. Now that my husband and I are trying for a baby, I’ve been trying really hard to get my blood sugars under control and I’ve been perfect overnight, had some after breakfast spikes but overall been in a much better range (my average result on my meter says 130-best I’ve ever seen in my entire life) but yet my latest A1C result was 7.3. Now I did do basal testing in the last three months where I kept my blood sugar in the 200’s but besides that I’m wondering how much of my variation in A1C numbers is due to inaccurate test strips.
Before a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know test strip accuracy was something to be concerned about. Type 1 Diabetics (well all diabetics really) have enough to worry about on a daily basis, why do we now additionally have to deal with trust issues with our meters. I don’t know of any chronic illnesses where the treatment can be within a 20% range. Heck, I’m an accountant and there is no way the IRS would be OK with a 20% variance and that is just money, not a life or death situation. I hope this topic gets brought to more people’s attention and some good will come out of the exposure. Hopefully test strip makers will see a need for improvement in the near future.
“This post is my July entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2013/july-dsma-blog-carnival-3/”