Diabetes: Choosing and Using Your Glucose Meter (cont.)
Sometimes manufacturers change their meters and their test strips. These changes are not always communicated 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 sensitive to these features of test strips and may not work well or consistently if they are not correct for a meter. If you are unsure whether or not a certain test strip will work with you meter, contact the manufacturer of your glucose meter.
Making Sure Your Meter Works Properly
Check Using "Test Quality Control Solutions" or "Electronic Controls".
Take Your Meter with You to The Health Care Provider's Office. This way you can test your glucose while your health care provider watches your technique to make sure you are using the meter correctly. Your healthcare provider will also take a sample of blood and evaluate it using a routine laboratory method. If values obtained on the glucose meter match the laboratory method, you and your healthcare provider will see that your meter is working well and that you are using good technique. If results do not match the laboratory method results, then results you get from your meter may be inaccurate and you should discuss the issue with your healthcare provider and contact the manufacturer if necessary.
User Experiences with Glucose Meters
Most of the participants in these groups were satisfied with their meters. Some were quite enthusiastic about the new models. A few had some concerns about meters. One such participant stated: "The first meter I got I couldn't use because it was too difficult."
Repeating Tests. Most users repeated tests now and then because they believed the first test result was incorrect. Users questioned test results based on their expectations about what the results should be. If the glucose level seemed "off," they repeated the test.
The ability to judge whether or not a test seemed accurate appeared to come from the users' experiences with their meters. These experiences helped them know how they felt when their glucose level was high, when it was low and when it was about right. They also were aware of what and when they had eaten, exercised, slept, or taken insulin, and they learned to anticipate the effect these activities have on their glucose levels.
Comments users made about their results include the following:
Besides repeating tests because of a suspected inaccuracy in the first test, a frequent reason to repeat a test was that the meter indicated "insufficient blood" on the test strip and would not complete the test on the first attempt. When this happens, users needed to do another fingerstick. Users whose meters required less blood did not have this problem as often.
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