Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Strip Tease

July DSMA (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy)Blog Carnival

Thanks to Karen Graffeo
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'm jumping on the band wagon and I'm joining in on the blog carnival this month. So here is my input.

Why did I title it "Strip Tease"? Well for one, to grab your attention, and another because that's how I have felt multiple times when testing myself lately. It has felt like a tease, like I see a number on my meter that I don't believe is really correct and it's saying "Nahny nahny boo boo, guess where your BG is at!" and that's a scary game to play. That is why test strip accuracy is frustrating because it's not accurate. Test strips can be +/- 20% accuracy range! Hello?! How can there not be something wrong with that? For example, here is a problem that I had recently. One day at work I was feeling like I might possibly be running low. So, I checked myself on my main meter, my One Touch Ultra Mini. 32 is the number that popped up on the screen. I didn't believe it, I didn't feel like that could be possible. So I pricked another finger and checked with my back up Bayer Link meter that links to my pump. It read 68, not so bad and way off from 32. I decided to check again on my One Touch. This time, it read 45. Anyone else think that's nutso? Really, how can there be that huge of a range? I treated myself for the 68 because I didn't want to over do it. I was fine after that, but what if I really was in the lower range? What if I was not aware of or exhibiting symptoms of a severe low and because of the huge range difference that my meters were displaying I didn't get enough sugar into my body right away and I had continued to drop? That could potentially lead to me passing out, seizures or a coma. Test strip accuracy can be thrown off by multiple things, dirty hands, expiration dates, temperature that they are stored in, prolonged exposure to air and I'm sure that there is more that I'm just not aware of. This isn't the only time that I've had a problem like this. There was another time that I was really probably  more around the 45 range, but when I first tested it came up at 26. That freaked me out so bad on top of feeling low that I downed 2 juice boxes right off the bat not even thinking about it and was about to down a third when my fantastic and level headed hubby stepped in and stopped me and told me to check again, that maybe that number really wasn't correct. Since it hadn't even been 5 minutes, I know that the juice had not kicked in yet when I checked again. This second time checking my meter read 45. Two juice boxes probably over did it because I ran high the rest of the night. Imagine, if I had drank a third juice box how miserable I would have been that night. These are just stories of lows showing inaccurately on meters.It can be to the other extreme as well. Image thinking you are 300, going to treat that and really you are 240 or 360? When taking insulin that is a drastic difference as well, you can be over treating a high and end up bottoming out because your meter said you were higher that you truly were or you end up not getting low enough because in reality, you were higher than what your meter read. Thank you FDA for not having enough rules and regulations in place with the strip companies, and thank you strip companies for being all about the money and not my safety, our safety. 

To find out more about test strips safety issues:

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

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