Glucose meter accuracy is critical for the proper management of diabetes. The readings help the patient and their healthcare provider to understand if the patient is improving and whether other steps need to be taken. Taking blood glucose level readings is completely dependent on a variety of factors including the equipment being used and so on. Here then are several factors that affect glucose meter readings.
Test strips for blood glucose measurement are very sensitive to many factors and all these can affect the accuracy of your readings. Test strips rely on enzymes in the strip which react with the blood cells in your sample and this process creates an electrical current. When the strip is inserted into the machine, it converts this electrical current into a glucose concentration reading which is then read off the screen. Because of this complicated process, the strips can be affected by external damage such as being bent, or the strip being expired.
Environmental conditions such as the altitude of the testing site can all have an effect on the accuracy of the readings. Studies have shown variations in blood glucose readings based on factors such as humidity, temperature, and so on. For this reason, it is always advisable to do any testing at room temperature to avoid getting the wrong readings.
When you take your blood sample for use with the glucose meter, any foreign substances on your skin can affect the reading. For example, if you had just washed your hands and didn’t dry them properly, the moisture on your skin can affect the reading that you get. It is likely that the water will dilute the sample, and this will lead to inaccurate readings. It is often recommended that you wash your hands and then dry them thoroughly before taking the blood sample from your finger.
Amount of Blood
The amount of blood used in the sample will affect the accuracy of the test being made. For the reaction on the strip to occur, a particular blood sample size must be applied to it. This is why glucose meters will typically indicate how much blood needs to be drawn in order to have an accurate reading.
Different parts of our bodies have different physiological characteristics and where we draw the blood for testing will affect the accuracy of the readings. Such differences can be caused by a variety of factors such as the frequency with which fresh blood flows onto the site. If not indicated on your glucose testing machine, find out from your machine’s manufacturer how different sites affect the accuracy of the readings.
Glucose meters often have to be coded in order to be able to work with a particular type of strip. If this is not done correctly, there will be a problem with the meter readings. Fortunately, all machines come with coding instructions that can make this process easy for you. There is also information online on how to code different types of machines.