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Accurate Blood Glucose Measurement Video


Hematocrit is the measure of red blood cells in the blood. Patients with higher hematocrit values will generally test lower for blood glucose than patients with normal hematocrit. Patients with lower hematocrit values will test higher. If you know that you have abnormal hematocrit values you should talk over its possible effect on glucose testing (and A1C testing) with your health professional. Anemia and Sickle Cell Anemia are two conditions that bear upon hematocrit values.

Other Substances:

Numerous other substances may interfere with your testing process. These include uric acid (a natural substance in the body that can be denser in some people with diabetes), glutathione (an "anti-oxidant" also called "GSH"), and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). You should check the package insert for each meter to find what substances might affect its testing accuracy, and discuss your concerns with your diabetes caregiver.

Altitude, Temperature, and Humidity:

Altitude, room temperature, and humidity can cause irregular effects on glucose results. Check the meter and test strip box insert for information on these issues. Store and handle the meter and test strips according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Third-Party Test Strips:

Third-party or "generic glucose reagent strips" are test strips produced as a less expensive option than the strips that the original maker intended the meter to be used with. They're commonly developed by replicating the original strips.

While these strips may work on the meter listed on the package, they could look like strips used for other meters. Make certain the test strip you use is correctly matched with your glucose meter.

Occasionally manufacturers modify their meters and their test strips. These alterations are not always conveyed to the third-party strip manufacturers. This can make third-party strips incompatible with your meter without your knowledge. Differences can involve the amount, type or concentration of the chemicals (called "reagents") on the test strip, or the actual size and shape of the strip itself. Meters are responsive to these features of test strips and may not work well or consistently if they're not correct for a meter. If you're doubtful whether or not a certain test strip will work with your meter, contact the manufacturer of your glucose meter.

Performance Goals for Glucose Meters

Deciding performance criteria for glucose meters has been debatable and difficult. Despite efforts in the late 1970s and 1980s by both FDA and CDC, no universally recognised standards or testing methods have been formulated for the measurement of glucose. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently held a standards conference and is researching the possibility of developing a standard reference material for whole blood.

The ADA has recommended accuracy goals twice over the past twenty years, once in 1986 (target accuracy of +/- 15%) and once in 1993 (target accuracy of +/- 5%) No company that manufactures glucose meters has developed a cost-efficient system to meet these goals. A number of alternative standards have been suggested by national standards organizations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. An international standard ISO DIS 15197 is currently under development that recommends accuracy of +/- 20 mg/dl (1.11 mmol/l) for glucose values under 100 mg/dl (5.56 mmol/l) and +/- 20% for higher glucose values.

While information on glucose meters continues to show varying performance, the newest generations of meters are less complicated to use and more precise than older models. Improvements in the chemical, mechanical, and software components of glucose meters are continuing to help with the management of diabetes.


Accurate blood glucose measurement is best achieved by testing yourself in the correct manner. These tests are adequate for day to day therapy but should not be relied upon as the ultimate measure of the success of your diabetes program.

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