Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2008 James Gross, Community Member, asks

Q: What causes discrepancies among blood glucose meter readings?

I have Type 2 Diabetes. I've been testing with three different meters at the same times usung the same blood sample and they are all over the map. The mg/dL readings vary as much as 95 points and I don't know which one to trust. I've been taking Januvia which worked well for me but I had to stop taking it because of it's cost-$200.00 for 30 day supply. I stopped taking it four days ago and have been taking metformin and glipizide. The discrepancies in the meters were occuring before the medicine change however. I was diagnosed on july 25th of this summer but believe that I have had diabetes for the past five years. I had argued with my doctors about it as I had unquenchable thirst, frequent urination, serious vision problems and five diagnosed Transient Ischaemic Attacks (TIA's) or ministrokes. I am only 53 years old but was disabled in1994 by a serious fall off a roof that resulted in a broken pelvic bone and two crushed vertabrae. I had to trick my current doctor into making the diagnosis this past July by telling him that I believed I had a urinary tract infection knowing this would prompt a urine test which indeed showed my blood glucose level at 376mg/dL (this was with nothing to eat that morning) and subsequent A1C at 12%+(actually 2 points shy of 13%). M.D. provided me with a Freestyle Freedom Lite meter and script for 90 days of testing supplies which were quite expensive. I didn,t trust this meter as it often had black smudges on the LCD screen and when I reported it to Abbott Labs-they sent me a new meter. At the same time I read the August 2008 Consumer Reports Magazine report which rated Walmart's Reli-On Ultima a better meter so I went out and bought one to do comparison tests. I didn't know that the Reli-On was also made by Abbott at the time of purchase but the readings between the two meters differed sometimes by as much as 80 points (setting up both meters at the same time and using the same blood sample within seconds of each other.) in the meantime I obtained a Bionime Rightest GM300 (this is another story- I got slammed kind of like the phone companies used to do) and began using that as a third comparison test (again setting up all three meters at the same time and using the same blood sample within seconds of each other) Now I began finding discrepancies as much as 95 points difference. However the Bionime meter and the Reli-on were almost always within 3 to 5 points of each other. I called again and reported this to Abbott (even doing several control tests on the Freestyle meter together with their tech support and getting readings at 155 and one at 93) so Abbott sent me a third Freestyle Freedom Lite meter and also sent me a second Reli-on Ultima meter as they manufactured that meter as well and they were not reading within 20% of each other (the acceptable range). Strangely enough when I went to set up the "new" Reli-On meter it already had the current day, date and time on it. This new Reli-On meter did not read within 2 to 5 points of the Bionime GM300 as the first Reli-on meter had and the new Fredom Freestyle lite meter reads nowhere near the other two which prompted me to call Abbott Labs again to report the discrepancies now being even worse and they are now sending me a fourth (in less than seven weeks) Freedom Freestyle Lite as the customer rep explained that she really had to do as I had lost confidence in the meter-I've actually lost confidence in Abbott Laboratories. I insisted on keeping my first Reli_on meter as I trusted that one more than the "new" one they sent me which she said as the customer that was my right and they wanted me to feel confidence in their product. To give you an example of readings with the new meters the freestyle would read 192mg/dL the Reli-On would read 156mg/dL and the Bionime GM300 would read 108mg/dL. If the Bionime GM300 is correct then if I took a glipizide I would most likely go hypoglycemic and possibly end up in the emergency room or worse, if the other meters are correct than I probably should take a glipizide- so you can see my dilemna- WHICH ONE SHOULD I TRUST? Please help-James Gross--E-mail  phone number 810-990-8186

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Answers (3)
Cherise Nicole, Health Guide
9/29/08 8:41pm



Hello! If your blood sugar is 108 you shouldn't have a hypoglycemic episode. Meter comparison's...I personally think you shouldn't compare meter's, it'll make you go crazy trying to figure out why you are getting different readings. You should find the meter that works best for you and stick with it. Some glucose meters measure whole blood and some use plasma. Click here and it will take you take a meter comparison chart.  I hope this helps. Find what works stick with it and keep an extra meter for backup. 



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Lorrie, Community Member
3/16/09 11:07pm



I've found the same issue w/my meters showing wide discrepancies.  I accidentally hit the wrong button in reading the previous response and it made it look like I thought they're remarks were helpful - they weren't.  To say that you shouldn't use more than one meter to solve the situation is ridiculous - when the problem is not the use of different meters - it's the wanting to know which meter you should trust to be giving you an accurate result!  I've been searching for answers to this question on the web and so far I've found 2 things [unfortunately haven't been able to check on either yet as I just found them this evening]:  * They said to check what your meter's results come from - whole blood equivalent or plasma equivalent < the latter is apparently what most labs use for A1C results    * Also, another source said when you have blood drawn for A1C - to ask for a drop of the blood they drew [and if they won't - immediately test right there] and use your monitor to test it ... write down the results and compare them to your A1C results and this should show how well your meter is reading.  Unfortunately, I just had blood tests done and won't be able to try this 'til next testing in 4 months! 

Good luck James - please let us know if you learn any more about this.


Gary Owens, Community Member
9/19/09 11:19am

I have the same issue, but in the opposite order. I'm 60, 5'10 175, was told last summer by my Dr I was type 2. He gave me a Freestyle Freedom Lite meter, but as I don't have a lot of money, I went into sticker shock when I saw $104 per 100. At 3 times a day, thats only a months worth.  After some shopping I found the Ultima was only $39 per 100, something I saw as reasonable. I compaired the meters, and found the Ultima to read very low, compaired to the Freestyle. I called Abbot, they replied that they were within tollerance. I didn't feel that 99 on the Freestlye and 47 on the ultima was within an acceptable range, ( other reading were about the same, 160 on Freestyle, 90 on Ultima ect). They sent me another Ultima which is reading within 10 points of the Freestyle all times, That seems about right.  But I just don't have any confidance in the Ultima. I guess I'll have to find the extra money for the Freestyle strips. Its a matter of confidence.

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By James Gross, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/26/12, First Published: 09/28/08