inconsistant meter readings

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by Glassgoblin, Mar 30, 2018.

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  1. Glassgoblin

    Glassgoblin Member

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    Mar 3, 2018
    Last night when I tested Jaxa I got a 408, which has never happened at home, so I tested her other ear immediately and got a 383, which still seemed high but more in line with her usual readings. So I did a +1 (310) and a +3 and got 300, then 362 and finally 302 (the second and third of the readings from the same drop of blood on her ear) within 5 minutes.

    For the AMPS today I got 386, which again seemed a lot higher than her usual, so I retested the other ear and got 287, and then because they were so different I did it a third time and got 308. All within 4 minutes.

    How do I know when it is the test strips, the machine or user error for getting such varied numbers? It really makes me wonder how much I can go by the readings. All of these strips are from the new container I just opened. I have had the machine for almost a month with one battery so I don't know if I need to buy different strips, a new battery or a new meter.

    She goes to the vet today, so she will be watched, but I really worry than none of her test results are accurate. We are also expecting 6-10 inches of snow over night so I already did my shopping for the weekend last night, and stopping with her in the car is problematic today. Ugh. Don't know what to do.
     
  2. Kris & Teasel

    Kris & Teasel Well-Known Member

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    Aug 17, 2016
    As crazy making as it is, the allowed meter variance of 20% can explain the differences among these readings. If you look at them on your SS they all colour code pink and that tells you they're basically in the same range. I think we'd all see these discrepancies a lot of the time if we double checked a numbers of tests one ear to the other or with the same drop. At some point we have to decide to use a meter and trust that it gives us a proper picture of BG trends. The time to do a double check second test is if you get a reading that seems to be far out of line with the other data. For example, you have an array of blues and greens over a section of your SS and suddenly get a red or you have an array of pinks and get a lime green.

    The ups and downs of FD are many and they're stressful. Learning the BG ranges on one meter and sticking with that is one less complexity to deal with. If your meter is new, the batteries are fresh and your test strips aren't expired you can go with what your meter tells you. One added check you can make is to call the meter manufacturer's 1-800 number and ask them to send you the control solution for your type of meter. It's a glucose solution that you test and if your meter gives you a reading within the range on the control solution bottle it's working properly. You can also test yourself: normal fasting BG is in the 70-100 range.
     
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  3. JL and Chip

    JL and Chip Member

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    Dec 28, 2009
    As Kris said, the allowed variance is +/- 20 percent, which can seem a bit unnervingly different at higher blood glucose values. For example, at 300, you might see a swing of +/- 60 points (anywhere from 240 to 360) and still be within variance. It will be much less at lower BG values.

    When I first started the diabetes dance many years ago, I did the same things you're doing... back-to-back tests to compare values, tested both ears, tested the same drop of blood multiple times, even did those things using multiple meters to compare results. I'm a data person and was flummoxed by the differing values, especially when testing the same drop of blood! I expected the same number, I mean, that would be logical, right?

    Glucometer technology has come a long way over the years and it has improved and saved the lives of numerous humans and animals, but it's not perfect. However, it IS good enough as long as we don't get hung up on exact numbers. That's sometimes hard to do, but we need to talk ourselves off the ledge when we start fretting over whether we're seeing a 399 or 430. I think human nature plays into it too, as a 399 is much more palatable than something that starts with a "4" (just as something that is priced at 39.99 sounds much cheaper than $40, and stores certainly play that game).

    Some brands of meters tend to run significantly higher or lower than others. That actually bothered me more than the variance on an individual meter.

    As far as how to determine what's wrong, if anything (becase we all need confidence in the data were collecting as reassurance that were making the best possible decisions) ...

    * Get some control solution to check your batch of test strips. The solution is specific to your meter. Note that most control solution vials have a short expiration date once opened ... 90 days or so I believe.

    * Retest if you get a wonky number, keeping the +/-20% rule in mind.

    * Open a new batch of test strips and compare results. I occasionally did this as a reality check, as long as the meter didn't need to be recoded. I also ALWAYS compared the last strip of an old vial to a strip in a new vial as I was switching over, just in case there were glaring differences so I could investigate quickly whether I had a bad batch of strips.

    * Get a backup meter and get a feel for how those numbers run compared to your primary meter.

    * Have an extra meter battery on hand. I believe most meters will give you an icon that warns when the battery is low. The batteries last forever, but it seems they always fail on a holiday when nothing is open, lol.

    * Make sure you're getting enough blood on the test strip. Meters will usually throw an error if you don't, but I've noticed a grey area on mine where there's just enough blood to give a reading but I don't consider it accurate. Multiple retests give higher, and what I consider more valid, numbers.

    I don't know what meter you're using or where you get your test strips, but the important thing is to find one you're comfortable with and can trust. Dealing with feline diabetes is enough without adding meter concerns to the mix. I have a collection of meters and I personally landed on using a One Touch Ultra as my primary meter with an OTU Mini and an AlphaTrak as backups (and YES, using a human versus pet meter WILL give differing results as the reference ranges are different, so keep that in mind). My trusty OTU was given to me 13 years ago by a former FDMB member who highly recommended it and I'm still thankful that she led me in that direction. I definitely have used meters over the years that I don't have confidence in and wouldn't recommend.

    Most meters are going to be ok for our purposes. Sometimes we just need to reset our expectations.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
    Kris & Teasel likes this.
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