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July 11, 2001

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Park Ridge, Illinois, USA:

My 10 year old daughter has type 1 diabetes. We just purchased her a new meter so that she doesn't have to use her fingers. The readings taken from her arms are 30 to 100 points different than the meter we were using. How could this be? Any advice on why this occurs?

Answer:

Both these meters express glucose in terms of the plasma level and both show good reproducibility in standardised conditions so that I am sure that this problem is one of technique, especially as the error seems to be so large as well as so variable. I would suggest that you first call the toll-free 24 hour customer service number on the back of your new meter, and go over the procedure with the nurse educator on your daughter’s diabetes team. The strips used by your new meter are designed to measure less that a microgram of glucose so that any error in handling can easily result in high readings, but certainly there should be no need to consider yet another meter.

DOB

[Editor’s comment: See a previous answer on this subject.

SS]