Getting Accurate Blood Glucose Test Results
For the most part, getting accurate blood glucose test results is simple. But sometimes blood glucose meters—devices that measure and display blood glucose levels—can give you an inaccurate reading. These inaccurate readings can happen because some circumstances can cause the wrong reading. These issues can be easily fixed. Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, we explain what can affect your test results and how to limit these mistakes.
It's important to note that if you get a reading that's way off—especially if you get a reading that doesn't match your symptoms—don't hesitate to re-test. Be sure to take your time: Make sure your meter and strips are working properly, and then try it again. If something still doesn't seem right, call your healthcare professional or the phone number on the back of the meter (if you think the meter is not working properly).
Here are some things you can do to limit mistakes when checking your blood glucose levels:
- Keep your meter clean: It seems like a no-brainer, but a dirty meter can alter your reading. Clean your meter regularly, and before you do a reading, wipe off any noticeable blood, dirt, or grease.
- Identify any test strip problems: Make sure your test strip is compatible with your meter, and be sure to insert it correctly into the meter. Also, check the expiration date of your test strip; an expired test strip may give you an inaccurate test result. Additionally, be sure to store test strips at room temperature: Keep them away from heat and humidity.
- Recognize problems with your monitor: As with test strips, glucose meters need to be stored at room temperature. Also, when necessary, replace your meter's batteries.
- Enter the correct test strip code: Each time you run a test, you should make sure the proper test strip code from the outside of the test strip bottle is entered into the meter.
- Use enough blood on the test strip: If you do not properly fill the test strip and you have less than needed, it may give you an inaccurate reading.
Use your fingertip as the main testing site: Fingertips are the most common areas to test, but if you're using a location other than your fingertips and you think the reading is wrong, test it again using a sample from your fingertip. If your blood glucose levels are rising or if you feel like you have low blood glucose, do not use alternate sites since the readings will not be as accurate.
Other Tips for Getting Accurate Blood Glucose Test Results
To make sure your meter is working accurately, you can bring it to your next doctor's appointment. Take a reading using your meter, and then your doctor will run a lab test. You can compare the lab results to the meter results; this will help assure you that your meter is working properly. If your doctor spots a problem with your meter, he or she can help you address the problem. You can also obtain control solution for your meter through the meter company to confirm if the test strips are working properly. For any help with your meter, remember that you can always call the phone number on the back of the meter.
Remember, sometimes there can be errors that can affect blood glucose levels. But by taking your time and being careful when you test your blood glucose levels, you'll improve the likelihood of getting an accurate result. As always, if you have specific concerns about your blood glucose test readings, don't hesitate to call your healthcare professional.