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October 2, 2014
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Fingertip versus Forearm


This is not a "strip safely" post. Those are a bit tame compared to this.


A snafu with an Amazon.com provider has left me using one of my alternate meters this past week. I had previously tested it out as being reasonably accurate, but now I'm not so sure.


Fasting glucose: 142 mg/dl (forearm), 111 fingertip.


It's a known fact that when my fingertips are cold, they will read about 20 mg/dl lower than my forearm, or any other place on my body.


My fingertips were not cold.


Another meter from the same manufacturer came up with 170 (forearm) at the same time. Again, not a number I would have expected.


So much for the touted 10% accuracy at 100 mg/dl.


Here's the deal: for me: when 20 points is the difference between being in control, and being out of bounds, 70 points is a difference that reads as all holy $4!t — even moreso when I'm talking about a fasting reading or a pre-meal reading. For many of you, 70 points is a difference that indicates a change in premeal insulin dose or the need for a correction. Aim for tight control, and you can end up in the clutches of a really, really, bad low.


The big questions for me are, what is causing this big difference? Why is it happening specifically with the meters and strips (two different kinds of each) from this particular manufacturer? And what can I do to mitigate the effect, and what advice should I give to others experiencing the same issue?


It's a bit maddening to find that what I once thought a good, reliable, inexpensive meter — and it's not-so-inexpensive little brother — might not be so reliable after all.


There's always the possibility of user error to consider, and the fact that some of these high readings are in conjunction with smaller blood draws makes that probability something I need to confirm or rule out.


As they say, the thing about "stripping safely" is that it isn't just about the strips.

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Megan Holmes
Megan Holmes Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life.   (Read More)
Michelle Kowalski
Michelle Kowalski Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes.   (Read More)
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