Monitoring your blood glucose during the holidays – part 2

Monitoring your blood glucose during the holidays is key to managing your diabetes. Follow these tips to receive the most accurate glucose monitor readings.

Managing your diabetes during the holiday is an important part of having a happy and healthy holiday. According to the National Council on Aging, millions of people struggle with their health during the holidays. Diabetes affects 12.2 million Americans age 60 and over. An additional 57 million Americans age 20 and older have pre-diabetes, which increases their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Monitoring your blood glucose is an important tool used to manage diabetes. Taking your blood glucose levels on a regular schedule can help you stay on track by giving you important information on how your body is processing the carbohydrates you eat during the holidays. Having a good blood glucose meter that is accurate and performing correctly is the first step in the testing process. Blood glucose meters are much more accurate than they used to be. In the past, meters’ results could vary greatly depending on the person’s testing technique. Then manufactures implemented calibration codes that helped to make sure the levels were reading accurately. More recently, manufactures created meters that do not require calibration. Most meters are made this way now.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set accuracy requirements for blood glucose monitors on the market. The following are the ranges set by the FDA. For results at or above 75 milligrams/dl, 95 percent of meter test results must be within plus or minus 20 percent of the actual blood glucose level. For results below 75 milligrams/dl, 95 percent of test results must be within plus or minus 15 points of the actual blood glucose level. These ranges are accurate enough for someone to decide how to treat themselves.

Michigan State University Extension says it is important to test your blood sugar levels as accurately as possible. Consider the following tips in using your meter. Start by washing your hands with soap and water, and dry your hands completely before picking your finger. If your reading comes up with an unexpected number and you cannot explain the reading based from your experience, test near the same site again. Make sure to saturate the strip completely. Too little blood can give you an inaccurate reading. If the two readings are far apart, test a third time.

Handle your strips carefully. Strips preserve the longest in the refrigerator. Storing strips in direct sunlight and high humidity do not keep very long. Do not keep them in a car, pocket or wallet. Also, use the test strips intended for your monitor. If you do not use the appropriate strips you may get an inaccurate reading. You can always test your meter by using a control solution with glucose in the liquid instead of your blood. This will let you know if your meter and strips are working correctly.

For more on this topic read Monitoring your blood glucose during the holidays – part 1.

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