Glucose monitoring is a fundamental part of diabetes care. A glucose meter is a small hand-held device that is easy-to-use and helps one measure their blood sugar levels from anywhere. These devices are used in abundance by those suffering from diabetes and have functions ranging from few to many. Since the readings affect your diet choices, insulin doses, and other health-related factors, it is crucial to have accurate blood glucose readings to be able to manage your diabetes effectively.
Blood glucose monitoring might not always reflect accurate results. By being aware of the sources of error and methods of correction as well as prevention, a more accurate reading can be achieved every single time. When used correctly, blood sugar test machines can be put to their best use and taken advantage of. Below mentioned are a few factors that might affect how your glucose meter functions, thereby hampering accuracy and the possible solutions:
Test Strip Problems:
There’s a reaction between the glucose in your blood and enzymes on the strip when using a test strip. This leads to the release of electrons and the creation of an electric current. The reading is concluded by the conversion of the formed mixture into a concentration of glucose by the meter. This is itself is a complicate process. Inaccurate results may be a result of strips that are damaged or expired, affected by heat or moisture, are inapt for your meter, do not have enough blood applied, or when there are contaminants on the test site.
Solution: Do not use out-dated/damaged strips. Always store the strips in air-tight containers and keep them away from moisture, heat, or humidity. Use strips that are compatible with your glucometer.
Environmental conditions may affect your blood flow, composition, and the chemistry of your test strips. Enzymes present on the test strips are extremely sensitive to humidity and temperature changes. The enzyme activity may decrease due to humidity and temperature extremes, thereby affecting accuracy. The glucose level of your body may also vary depending upon the temperature. While high temperatures can make you dehydrated and cause glucose levels to spike, low temperatures can affect circulation and lower blood flow to the testing sites.
Solution: Make sure to keep both your test strips and glucose meter at room temperature.
Substances on Your Skin:
Testing with dirty hands can affect the reading accuracy. This is because anything that you touch can mix up with your blood sample and ultimately end up on the test strip. The modern meters have a micro-sized blood sampling unit. So if you touch something that contains sugar and do the testing without washing your hands, the results will be inaccurate. The same holds true for hands that have been recently washed but not dried properly, in which case the water can have a diluting effect on the sample.
Solution: Prick your skin only after thoroughly washing and drying your hands.
Blood Amount on The Test strip:
Lab experts are aware of the exact amount of blood that needs to be applied to the test strip. However, for others, the possibilities of applying too much or too little blood are quite high. This can lead to an error in reading or inaccurate reading.
Solution: Apply a generous drop of blood to the test strip and do not add more blood after the first drop.
Testing Site Location:
The frequency with which the blood circulates in each part of the body varies. Owing to these physiological differences in the circulation of blood in various body parts, test results are often inaccurate from sites such as calf, forearm, or thigh. Fingertip is the most accurate glucose reading site.
Solution: Always check the instructions to understand how alternate site testing might affect results. Take blood sample from fingertip.
Amount of Red Blood Cells in Your Body:
The blood glucose meter reading accuracy can be affected by the proportion of red blood cells that are there in your blood. These variations can interfere with glucose calculation. Your meter also needs to meet the performance criteria set by the ISO 15197:2013 to be able to give accurate results.
Solution: Make sure you are not dehydrated before testing. Check the user guide to know whether your glucometer can detect and correct haematocrit variations.
The algorithms, enzymes, and calibration process of each meter differ. Therefore, if you are using one meter brand in the morning and another one in the evening, do not be surprised if there are noticeable differences.
Solution: Stick to one meter and fully insert the strip into the meter.
There’s a code printed on each test strip that needs to be input in those meters that requires coding. If you put a wrong code in such meters, it can lead to inaccurate readings.
Solution: Make sure that you input the exact code as mentioned on the strip to avoid discrepancies.
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