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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Do Home Test Kit Errors Interfere With Your Diabetes Management?


The convenience of glucose meters which you can use at home is undeniable, but here are 5 safeguards for you to follow, to ensure that your diabetes management does not suffer on account of inaccuracies and shortcomings to which some brands of these devices may be subject:

1. Range: each meter has a range of blood glucose within which it can work correctly. Your physician is certain to take this in to account when recommending a brand for you to buy. Do not allow a pharmacist to change such a prescription, or be swayed by price and marketing efforts of manufacturers, without consulting your doctor.

2. Temperature: Study all information supplied by reputed glucose meter manufacturers, and observe stipulated conditions strictly. Some meters may have components which need refrigeration. Keeping parts away from moisture is often important. Your meter may give misleading results if you are careless about essential temperature conditions. This is especially important if you live in extremely hot or cold places, without air-conditioning and heating.

3. Quality: Never buy meters or their consumable components from unauthorized sources. You could be lumped with defective or spurious materials, and suffer from diabetes irregularities without knowing. Even official supplies may sometimes suffer from batch defects, and your pharmacist should know how to reach you in the event of a batch recall.

4. Storage: Make a note of expiry dates when you buy parts of your meter system which require regular replacements. Try to avoid products with short shelf lives left at the time of purchase. Check this aspect once again if there is a long gap between successive uses of your meter.

5. Calibration: Ask a trusted laboratory technician to check the calibration of the strips and reagents you buy periodically, to go with your meter. Make contact with the manufacturer, and ask for a replacement, if blood glucose readings from your meter vary from those given by a standard diagnostic laboratory.

Everyone with diabetes needs glucose meters to cope with situations of unusually high or low blood glucose in a new place, or when routines of diet and exercise break down, or when you first start on a new regimen of oral medication, or a new type of insulin. Meters are also useful when you need to know the effects of sudden stress, illness, and infections, on blood glucose. The key is to ensure that your meter works and gives you accurate results.


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