Meter inconsistencies

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I’m still hot on the Pelikan Sun (mentioned below) lancing device, and how lucky right now to have a lancing device that’s less painful. For after a truckload of new supplies hit my house yesterday: syringes, lancets, test strips and a new-for-me Freestyle Flash, last night and this morning I conducted a meter comparison test. And that meant a lot of finger-sticks.

I lined these 5 meters up to see if/how the results would vary. Pictured are the One Touch Ultra 2, Freestyle Flash, Freestyle Lite, One Touch UltraMini, and One Touch Ultra. One Touches seems to bond together like a family within a small variation. Last night, the One Touch Ultra 2 gave me a 90, Ultra Mini, 96, and One Touch Ultra, 91. The Freestyle Flash came in at 100, and Freestyle Lite, 105.  A 15-point outside spread, not terrible. Yet what was somewhat disconcerting was when I got the Freestyle Lite (newest model, no coding) at the Children with Diabetes conference last month, I ran this comparison test there several times. Each time the Freestyle Lite came in 30 points higher than the One Touches. What was it doing now at only 15 points higher?

This morning before breakfast I tested again in the same order, the One Touches gave me: 98, 96 and 85 (I have to say here, though, I believe the 85 was caused by the One Touch Ultra being the last to feed off one poor, squeezed drop of blood, where some intestinal fluid likely got mixed in.) Meanwhile, the Freestyle Flash reported, 105, and the Freestyle Lite, 113. Eliminating the 85 test result, the outside spread was 17 points. Pretty consistent with last night.

I did a second test round only minutes later this morning. I was just going to re-test the One Touch Ultra, since it had given me that 85, but I couldn’t help myself, and retested all the meters. This time I did the One Touch Ultra first — beside wanting to see if that 85 was an aberration, I didn’t want it to feel left out. Boo hoo. It came back with 100. The One Touch Ultra 2, a 105 and the UltraMini, a 101. The Freestyle Flash was 109. I had no more strips left, unfortunately, for the Freestyle Lite so it was left out of the line-up. Again, pretty consistent with my two other findings, yet now I was newly amazed that only four minutes later my blood sugar was already on the rise.

So what have I learned? For me, the three different meters from One Touch all gave different numbers yet not far apart. The two meters from Freestyle similarly gave different numbers, but not far apart from each other. Yet, they were 10-15 points higher than One Touch. And in Florida the Freestyle Lite was consistently 30 points higher than the One Touch family. I could say that the 30 point high was the meter itself experiencing the stress of being in Orlando in July! However, I think that’s probably not the answer.  Unfortunately, I have no answers, just lots of questions.

If this meter comparison interests you, and you have a bunch of meters at home, see for yourself. However, you will likely be only more confused and frustrated when you finish, since the question then will be, “Which one do I trust and follow?” As a type 1 diabetic, I will take an injection of insulin to correct down if let’s say mid-afternoon I’m over 140, and eat fast-acting carb to correct up if I’m under 50. Yet, if my blood sugar’s really 110 and not 140, I wouldn’t do anything, but smile. If it’s really 80 instead of 50, my smile would be all the wider.

I spent some time this morning searching other blogs for meter comparisons and found a great batch of comments that made me feel many have experienced my angst:

This is from a great site I just found, SixUntil Me.

In the end, I agree with what many commented. Use one meter that seems to correspond to your A1cs and symptoms, and expect no meter is entirely accurate.

Still, I am both horrified and saddened that since testing is the best weapon in our arsenal to keep blood sugars in target range and complications at bay, we cannot even rely on the accuracy of our meters. So I want to ask someone — why is there no universal standard, and where is the quality control in the meter industry?

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