Hendricks Regional Health Blog

Tracking Your Blood Sugar: Understanding How Meters Compare

Posted by: Angela Thomspon, NP   |   Friday, January 8, 2016   |   Latest Articles   |   Back to Blog

Have you taken your blood glucose with two different meters and the results did not match up? Have you wondered why they did not match up? If you answered yes to both of these questions, please read on ...

According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) the definition of an “accurate” blood glucose reading is any meter that can provide a result twenty percent above or below a lab drawn blood glucose. The reason for the difference between the meter and the lab value has to do with many factors including:

  • Different chemical reactions used in different meters
  • Time lapse from one test to the second test (even if it is only seconds)
  • Difference in blood flow when using different sample sites
  • Meters have different built-in formulas to calculate the blood glucose from the fingerstick sample.

Now, that you know why comparing meter to meter is not recommended, let’s look at examples what can happen with comparing one meter to another meter.

Example 1:
You have a lab blood glucose drawn and it is 100. You immediately check you blood sugar with your two favorite meters and you get 81 in one and 119 in another. Which meter is accurate?

Answer: Both, despite the difference being more than 38 points, each meter meets the FDA standards of the acceptable range of the lab draw. The acceptable range in this situation would be 80-120.

Example 2:
You have a lab blood glucose level drawn and it is 300. You immediately test your blood glucose using your two favorite meters and you get 242 on one and 355 on the other.

Answer: Both, despite being more than 113 points apart, they are still within 20 percent of the FDA standards of the acceptable range as reported by the lab. The acceptable range in this situation would be 240-360.

These situations are some examples of why it is not recommended to compare meter to meter. If you are concerned about the accuracy of your meter, and it is within warranty, it is recommended that you contact the manufacturer of the meter using their toll free line for additional assistance. For additional questions or concerns not related to the warranty, or if your meter is outside of the factory warranty, contact your diabetes provider or your local diabetes education center for steps on obtaining a new meter.

Additional reading by Angi: How Technology Can Enhance Your Life With Diabetes

Angela Thompson is a Family Nurse Practitioner with a specialized focus in diabetes and conditions related to diabetes. She has earned Board Certification in Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM) to provide skillful management of the complex needs of patients with diabetes as well as Board Certification in Diabetes Education.

Angela enjoys working with her patients to find a diabetes management program that works best for their needs. She has experience and training specific to continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pump devices. For patients interested in using technology supports such as smartphone applications to help track their blood sugar, Angela is knowledgeable about a variety of solutions available. She is now accepting new patients. Angela is located in the Center for Diabetes Excellence at Hendricks Regional Health Danville, 1000 East Main Street. To schedule, call (317) 745-3769.

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