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June 23, 2002

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections

Question from Marianna, Florida, USA:

When I do fingerstick checks, I can get as much as a 20-point difference between one hand and the other using the same monitor. When this happens is my dominant hand more likely to be the right number? Should I check using the same hand all the time and avoid the confusion?

Answer:

Blood sugar meters are not perfect and have some built-in variability between tests. I would encourage you to have your diabetes team check your meter and compare it to blood sugar values drawn concurrently and tested in the lab if you indeed feel there is a significant difference. However, most of the time, a minor variation between hands really doesn’t affect insulin dosing to a large degree. I don’t believe that choosing where to test based on a dominant hand makes a significant difference.

MSB