Would it surprise you to know that the meter you use to test your blood sugar may be wrong by 20%? And that a 20% margin of error for many patients results in seizures, unconsciousness and coma?
This past June the international group that sets the standards for meters was pressed to tighten them, and we can only hope it’s happening according to the recent article in the New York Times, “Standards Might Rise on Monitors for Diabetics.” Officials said they would keep pushing until monitor accuracy improves.
But it makes you wonder how those who oversee meter accuracy could be so casual and negligent in the first place. Insulin is a dangerous drug, take too much you could die, take too little and high blood sugars will lead to complications; we’re all depending upon our blood sugar readings to keep us from harm. If my meter shows 100 mg/dl my blood sugar could be 80 or it could be 120. 80 means I’m close to caving and may need to take some extra sugar, however if I’m really 120 extra sugar will push me into high blood sugar.
Something as simple as Tylenol or Vitamin C may also give false readings. In a world where we can land on the moon and talk into a wireless phone and get your email on a two inch screen, can we not create meters that give accurate blood sugar results? A government study revealed among five popular meters, results varied up to 32%! Two meters, both made by Bayer, differed by 62 points!
Really I find it shocking that with diabetes on the rise and health care costs skyrocketing, we still don’t have meters we can assuredly rely on.