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Diabetes - Type 2 Community
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Avatar universal

Testing variances

I've recently been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and started testing my blood glucose at home with the One Touch Ultra 2 monitor.  The test strips that I've been given are pre-coded, so I do not have to do anything to my monitor prior to testing, other than insert the strip.

I have a couple of questions and I apologize if they sound stupid - I'm still trying to get used to all of this - I've only been diagnosed and testing for a little over a month:

1) Can/will your blood sugar reading vary depending on which finger you use for the sample?  A few times, especially today, I noticed a vast difference between the middle finger on my right hand and the middle finger on my left hand.  For example, I was feeling a bit shaky like maybe my sugar levels were low, so I tested using the middle finger on my left hand - it read 62.  To double check, I then did a test on the middle finger of my right hand (about a minute after the first test) and got a reading of 143 (I had not eaten or drank anything in between tests or for several hours before the tests).  This is not the first time this type of "difference" has happened, although this was the most drastic difference.  It's not always a difference between left and right hands - sometimes simply different fingers on the same hand

2) Because of this vast difference, how do I tell which is the most accurate, so I know how to treat and/or notify my doctor?  I'm currently taking Metformin and Glimepiride and of course, if my sugar is already low, I don't want to make it any lower by my meds - but if I'm getting conflicting readings, how do I tell?

3) Is it better to always use the same finger for testing or better to switch fingers each time?  Of course, I'd rather my fingertips not get sore from testing, but if it's better/more accurate to always use the same finger, I'll put up with a little tenderness.

Any other tips for the most accurate testing would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
3 Responses
141598 tn?1355675363
Glad you posted. By the way, the only stupid questions are the ones not asked. I can understand your puzzlement as I went through the same when first starting home testing. I'll try to break it down so you can follow my thoughts easily.

1. Great meter as I use the same unit. The FDA only requires test meters to be within +/- 20%. They are not meant to be an accurate representation of your glucose but an estimate for you to judge what your liver is doing while sleeping, for you to test upon awakening in the morning, to test and provide a baseline measurement preprandial [before meals] level, and to test to see how the foods you consumed affected your glucose level postprandial [2-3 hrs after meal]. Random testing is useless, don't bother as you have nothing to refer against.

"The test strips that I've been given are pre-coded, so I do not have to do anything to my monitor prior to testing, other than insert the strip."
Be sure your meter is calibrated to the test strips. On the outside of the test strip container is a number. Set the meter to that number. Verify on occasion the meters viability with the test solution supplied.

2. Doesn't matter which finger you use, just be sure it is cleaned prior to using the lancet. A contaminated finger and/or one that is not completely dry will get you a false/positive result. If you use alcohol swabs it is best to switch fingers on weekly basis as alcohol tends to make the skin hard, callous like, thus forcing you to increase the plunger strike tension.

3. As far as the different readings, not all blood cell samples are alike because not all red blood cells carry, if any, the same amount, if any, of excess glucose. Take one reading at the times mentioned previously in #1 above.

4. An A1c tester is the most accurate test as it measures glucose over the past 2-3 months. Why? Quite simple, red blood cells live on average 2-3 months, excess glucose attaches to new RBC's and the A1c captures this. However, the A1c does not account for your daily individual readings like the One-Touch does.

Most important of all is making a lifestyle change - proper nutrition, maintaining normal body weight, and 30 minutes of daily physical exercise all helps to lower your glucose levels. No amount of medication does the job on its own. Failing the lifestyle change may require more medication. Ever hear of anyone getting better taking more meds? Finally, read other threads on this forum as nutrition has been discussed numerous times - what to eat, what to avoid.
HTH - Good luck
Avatar universal
Thank you for your quick response.  Your answers have helped.

My meter is calibrated to the test strips that I use - it came pre-calibrated when I got it from the pharmacy (either that or THEY calibrated it for me before I picked it up) and each time I insert a test strip, it shows the calibration number so I can verify that it is the same.

You mentioned a test solution - I did not receive any test solution with my meter or strips.  Is this something that I can/should purchase separately?  If so, does it require a doctor's prescription?

I don't currently use alcohol swabs to clean my fingers prior to testing - simply soap and water and then completely dry them before testing.

I do do the testing at the times you metnioned, however, my doctor also told me, at least until I can more accurately "connect" some of how I feel sometimes with either high or low blood sugar readings, to also test if I'm feeling shaky, moody, extra tired, headachy, etc., so that's why I've been doing extra testing.  Also, since we just recently (two weeks ago) added the medications, he wanted me to do some extra testing.  Once I get used to the testing process, meds, signs and symptoms to watch out for, etc., I will only be doing the testing 3-4 times a day (per my doctor's instructions).

I'm also working on lifestyle changes like you mentioned.  I'm watching what I eat more closely, trying to lose weight and am going to an information seminar on weight loss surgery the 15th of this month.

Thank you again for your information and help.  I'll definitely read the other threads on the forum for additoinal help and advice!
141598 tn?1355675363
You can purchase the One-Touch test solution vials [2 to a box] for $9.51 + shipping on Amazon, or check with your local stores. Another option is to fill out this online form  http://tinyurl.com/freebie-onetouch and get a freebie second meter with 10 or so test strips, lancets, and a bottle of solution [it's been a few years but the solution was supplied with the meter].

I normally suggest to first time users to start a written log. Once they understand and develop their new routines, the log becomes second nature and unnecessary.
● Date
● Body weight tracker
● Time of test
● Results
● Foods consumed - time of day, type, portion
● Number of carbs consumed

The log may help in figuring out why you experience the shaky, fatigue, and unusual body feelings. Pay careful attention to your postprandial levels. Some people experience Reactive Hypoglycemia, or postprandial hypoglycemia, where their glucose levels dip below normal usually within 4 hours after eating. Your symptoms mimic this. Good luck
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