Do you Strip Safely?

Imagine your life depends on knowing a number. Imagine you have the tool to find what the number is, and based on this number you have to follow the rules or you may end up in big trouble—and by trouble I mean death. I’m not joking… this is what people with millions of people with diabetes are dealing with now.

It is sad and scary to learn that there is no proper regulation for the manufacturing of certain types of glucose testing strips, which leads to inaccurate numbers… very inaccurate. If you have diabetes, and you’re on insulin, you may either over-treat or under-treat a rather complicated condition; and don’t forget insulin is a very dangerous drug. Too much, too little… NEVER a good thing.

Imagine you’re the parent of a child with diabetes and you need those numbers to be accurate so you know what is the right thing to do. Imagine you give your child more insulin than what they really need. Or less. Inaccurate readings are every person with diabetes’ nightmare, and that is one of the things we keep hollering about. One would think that after all the hollering we would be heard. But that isn’t the case

According to Strip Safely:

At a recent public meeting the FDA acknowledged that there are some 510(k) cleared blood glucose (BG) meters and strips that do not meet the accuracy standards for which they were approved. There is currently no clear course of action to insure people with diabetes are using blood glucose strips that meet regulatory requirements.

Then you have a person like me, who is not on insulin, and whose doctor recommended to test 2-3 times A WEEK (that’s a story for another day). If I already have a hard time getting an idea of how my diabetes behaves, you can do the math when it comes to a meter that isn’t giving me accurate numbers. The problem is, which one do I trust?

Last month, David Edelman posted a Blood Glucose Meter Accuracy Comparison chart. It isn’t the only one I’ve seen lately. Well known brands of glucose meters are barely making it, and they are well regulated by the FDA. What about those who aren’t? The “cheap” ones that will make you spend more money on complications at the end of the day?

And you must be thinking what you can do about the accuracy issue and ask for stricter regulations from the FDA when it comes to something as vital as adequate blood glucose level readings. Well, YOU GO TELL THEM!

Contact your congress person and make a DEMAND for stricter regulations from the FDA. Diabetes isn’t a joke. Glucose meters aren’t a toy. And we aren’t puppets.

More Fingersticks?

Have you ever seen the fingers of a person with diabetes? Mine don’t actually look like that because I manage my condition with medication rather than with insulin and I don’t have to prick my dedos very often. Now the question is, why would I want to prick my fingers more often? I won’t lie to you, one gets used to the lancet, but it hurts (ask my husband). I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for people who have to check often.

However, I’ve been thinking if it’s right for me to test my blood sugars only 2-3 a week. I think I’d feel more comfortable with once a day, so I can test every day at a different time to actually have a good idea of how my pancreas/liver/cells combo reacts to what I eat, my activity levels, etc. Is that unreasonable? While the medical community agrees that people who don’t use insulin don’t need to test daily, I’m just not sure it helps in the long run.

Sure, we non-insulin peeps don’t have to deal with that many lows, and the A1C may give us a decent idea of how our blood sugars have been, but an average doesn’t really tell you about day to day levels. What if you’re sick? What if you ate something you thought wouldn’t raise your levels, but it actually did? How do you know what is your bad time of the day? If I go by symptoms, that doesn’t help because sometimes I don’t even feel like my levels are high unless I’m super jittery and that’s because the level is really high.

I guess I better talk about this post with my endocrinologist when I go see him next week. I want to have a better understanding of how my body works and I think keeping more records about my blood sugar levels will help.