Saturday, May 9, 2009

Blood Glucose Testing Errors - 8 Tips on Avoiding Mistakes

We all make mistakes and you won't be surprised to hear that people that test their blood glucose also make mistakes. We've compiled a list from other people's experiences of the most common mistakes when testing your blood glucose which often result in error messages. After reading these errors hopefully you won't make them!

1) Using out of date strips - test strips have expiry dates just like food and if you use test strips after their expiry date you may get an error message on your meter or worse a wrong reading without knowing it.

Make sure before testing that the test strips are in date.

2) Wrong test strips code - most test strips come with an individual code on the bottle/packaging. This code must match the code displayed on your glucose meter. If the codes don't match you will get error messages.

To avoid this problem check every new box of test strips has the same code as shown on the glucose meter. If not, change the code on the meter.

3) Re-using a lancet - this is a common mistake. Re-using a lancet could affect the accuracy of your reading and could be very painful.

Every time you test your blood glucose, use a fresh new lancet.

4) Uncapped test strips - test strips need to be kept capped in their container. If the container is uncapped for too long then this can affect the accuracy of the test strips.

Always cap your strips after use. If you find a test strip container that was not closed properly or you're not sure how long the strips had been uncapped for, then replace the test strips.

5) Poor storage conditions - test strips need to be stored in a dark, cool, dry place. If they are not, this can affect the accuracy of the strip. A bathroom or a window sill would not be good places to store test strips as bathrooms generally have a lot of water in the air and sunlight exposure on the window sill will degrade the strips.

6) Meter accuracy - the best way to check your meter is still accurate is to do a control check. Aim to do a control check at least every 3 months and perhaps each time you use a new box of test strips.

Always remember control solutions have a 3 month expiry, so after 3 months make sure you replace them. This applies to all control solutions from the one touch ultra control solution to the accu-chek aviva control solution. Click on the link to learn more about the control solutions.

7) Order of testing - some meters, such as the one touch ultra range, require you to put the strips into the meter first then place the blood sample onto the strip, other meters ask you to place the blood sample on the test strip first then place the strip into the meter.

Make sure you know which order your meter needs you to test with otherwise they will be an error message on your meter screen.

8) Meter units - glucose meters can measure in 2 units, mmol/l or mg/dl. Which units your meter measures in does not really matter as long as YOU know what units it measures. There are meters available which can measure in both mg/dl and mmol/l. The risk here is if you accidentally change the units and you do not realise there could be a huge difference in the actual readings.

Always look on your meter screen to see what units your reading is in. All meters will show you the units. Ideally, if you have meter which measures only in one unit it would be best.

All the meters at measure only in one unit, mmol/l.

Hopefully, you can learn from these common mistakes and avoid them!

This article was brought to you by John Ngijseh from the team strives to be an expert in diabetic products and is a great resource to learn more about diabetes. Visit the links within the article to learn more about our site.

We have some great article and learning resources, why not check out our article on types of diabetes.

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