How Accurate Are Home Diabetes Tests?

How Accurate Are Home Diabetes Tests
What Is an Accurate Glucose Meter Measurement? – Blood glucose meter accuracy does not mean that it will show your exact blood glucose measurement or give the same reading if you test multiple times. Instead, meter accuracy is determined by how well it corresponds with lab results that are drawn in tandem with your blood glucose meter measurement.

How do I know if my glucose meter is accurate?

Check your blood sugar level with your meter at the same time that blood is drawn for lab tests, being sure to use a fingerstick sample, not blood from the blood draw. Then compare your meter’s reading with the lab results. Results that are within 15% of the lab reading are considered accurate.

How accurate is finger stick blood sugar?

Fingerstick testing Per FDA guidelines, a fingerstick blood testing device is expected to deliver readings with 95% accuracy 2.

What should my blood sugar be when testing at home?

– For people with diabetes, blood sugar readings should be as follows :

  • Fasting (morning testing or before a meal): 80–130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)
  • Before meals: 70–130 mg/dl
  • Two hours after starting meals: Below 180 mg/dl
  • At bedtime: Under 120 mg/dl
  • HbA1c: 7.0 percent or lower

Before beginning home testing, it is important that people get clear, target figures from their doctor. Target numbers may vary from person to person and may change over time, depending on an individual’s health, age, weight, and other factors. For people who do not have diabetes, blood sugar levels should be within the following ranges:

  • Fasting (morning testing or before a meal): under 100 mg/dl
  • Before meals: Less than 110 mg/dl
  • Two hours after meals: Below 140 mg/dl
  • At bedtime: Under 120 mg/dl
  • HbA1c: 5.7 percent or lower

A person cannot diagnose diabetes using home testing alone. People with unusual readings will need further testing by a doctor. The doctor might carry out fasting tests, oral glucose tolerance tests, HbA1c tests, or use a combination of these methods. Learn more about the ideal blood glucose levels here.

How can I test for diabetes without going to the doctor?

You could have prediabetes for years without any clear symptoms. In fact, around 96 million American adults have prediabetes, but more than 80% of them don’t even know it. With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Free screenings Free blood sugar testing is offered at some health fairs, community centers, and pharmacies. Medicare coverage People covered by Medicare can get up to two free screenings a year if they have certain risk factors for diabetes, such as high blood pressure or obesity. Low-cost health centers and labs Federally funded community health centers provide low-cost blood sugar testing on a sliding scale based on income. Testing is also available at some walk-in labs for a small fee.

A word of caution: Free blood sugar screenings often aren’t accurate because people haven’t fasted 8 to 10 hours before the test. Make sure you know how to prepare ahead of time. One of the fastest ways to determine your risk: take the quiz at,

Do home glucose meters read high?

What Is an Accurate Glucose Meter Measurement? – Blood glucose meter accuracy does not mean that it will show your exact blood glucose measurement or give the same reading if you test multiple times. Instead, meter accuracy is determined by how well it corresponds with lab results that are drawn in tandem with your blood glucose meter measurement.

What can cause a false high glucose reading?

Physiological Factors – A range of physiological factors, such as peripheral blood perfusion, hematocrit, pO 2, triglycerides, bilirubin, and uric acid, has been observed to potentially impact the performance of BG systems.18, 33, 47 – 50 A reduction in peripheral blood perfusion due to hypotension may affect a BG system’s performance. In 2007 a review showed that glucose-1-dehydrogenase based POC devices as well as GO-based BG meters may produce incorrect results under such conditions.33 Particularly in critically ill patients, an incorrect diagnosis of hypoglycemia due to poor peripheral perfusion (eg, circulatory shock) may be harmful.34 Peripheral hypoperfusion may result in an increased tissue glucose extraction and a lower glucose value in capillary in comparison to venous blood. Therefore, it is necessary to check whether a particular BG meter has been labeled by the manufacturer for use with critically ill patients. Accuracy of SMBG measurement may also be affected by high or low hematocrit values.18, 23, 33, 34, 51 Hematocrit levels outside the reference interval are reported to be more prevalent than expected, even in Western countries.49, 52 In general, low hematocrit values (< 35%) frequently result in too high readings, while an increase in hematocrit is associated with a decrease in BG readings.33, 53 A study on 19 SMBG systems found that only a few meters were unaffected by hematocrit interference.49 Nevertheless, modern BG systems correcting automatically for hematocrit are considered to be less susceptible to high or low hematocrit.33 Triglycerides take up volume, thereby decreasing the amount of glucose in the capillary volume. As a consequence, high levels of triglycerides may result in falsely low BG readings.23 In BG systems utilizing GO-based test strips, the potential interference of pO 2 has been reported.18, 22, 23, 54, 55 Oxygen acts as a competitor to the mediator by taking electrons from the enzyme. Therefore, high oxygen values (eg, in patients utilizing oxygen) may deliver falsely low BG readings. On the other hand, low oxygen levels (eg, in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) might help deliver falsely high BG values.23, 56 On the other hand, a study using GD test strips showed them not to be significantly affected by different oxygen pressure.54 With a GO-based measurement, however, an increase in pO 2 to >100 Torr (eg, in critically ill patients receiving oxygen treatment) may result in a remarkable underestimation of BG values.22, 54 An evaluation of 5 SMBG systems utilizing a GO enzyme reaction on test strips showed BG measurements to be affected by pO 2 values < 45 and ≥ 150 mmHg in the blood sample.56 The practical relevance of these correlations is highlighted by an investigation of capillary blood samples obtained from the fingertips of 110 patients (31 with type 1 diabetes mellitus, 69 with type 2 diabetes, 10 without diabetes, no acute serious diseases). A broad range of capillary pO 2 values was demonstrated to occur in daily clinical practice.57 Uric acid is a DNA degradation product, and as such, very high uric acid concentrations, exceeding 20 mg/dL, can be observed in patients under chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or cancers with rapid cell turnover, such as certain lymphomas.58 At very high levels, uric acid may be oxidized by the electrode, thereby potentially delivering falsely high BG results.23 This might entail a considerable clinical significance for patients suffering from severe gout. An extreme example is the clinical case of a 54-year-old woman with diabetes and chronic kidney disease who presented a distinct hypoglycemic encephalopathy despite of BG readings > 160 mg/dL.59 High uric acid and low hematocrit values have been suggested to cause falsely high BG readings, thereby resulting in inappropriate therapeutic decisions.59

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Does squeezing finger affect blood sugar reading?

“Second drop” sometimes OK for blood sugar testing By Reuters Health NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People with diabetes are urged to always wash their hands before testing their blood sugar. But if soap and water are nowhere to be found, using the “second drop” of blood may be OK, a new study suggests.

  • The American Diabetes Association and other groups say that people should thoroughly wash and dry their hands, then test the first drop of blood that comes from the finger.
  • They do not, however, have advice on what to do when you cannot wash your hands.
  • For the new study, Dutch researchers had 123 people with diabetes test their blood sugar under various conditions: after thoroughly washing and drying their hands; without handwashing; after handling fruit, which leaves sugar on the fingers; and after washing their fruity fingers.

The participants also tested their blood sugar using varying amounts of pressure to squeeze a drop of blood from the tested finger. (In general, guidelines advise against squeezing the finger too hard to get a blood drop because it may distort blood sugar readings.) Overall, the study found, clean hands are still key.

  1. Compared with tests of clean hands, 11 percent of study participants had test results that were at least 10 percent off when they tested the first drop of blood from their unwashed hands.
  2. The same was true of 4 percent of study participants when they used the second drop of blood.
  3. Based on that, the researchers recommend that people wash and dry their hands before testing, then use the first blood drop.

But if they cannot wash up for some reason, it’s “acceptable” to use the second drop after wiping away the first.

  1. But what about fruity hands?
  2. In that case – or whenever hands are visibly dirty – a good washing is necessary, according to the researchers, led by Johanna Hortensius, a registered nurse at the Isala Clinics Diabetes Center in Zwolle, the Netherlands.
  3. They found that when study participants tested fruit-exposed hands without washing, 88 percent had blood sugar levels that were at least 10 percent off from their clean-hand readings – at least when using the first drop of blood.

They fared better when using the second drop. But 11 percent still had results that differed substantially from their clean-hand measurements.

  • The findings are published in the early online edition of the journal Diabetes Care.
  • As for squeezing the finger, the researchers found that too much pressure did appear to interfere with accurate test results.
  • Anywhere from 5 to 13 percent of study participants had a significantly different blood sugar result (versus no squeezing), depending on how much pressure they put on the finger.
  • On average, blood sugar readings were lower when people put pressure on the finger.
  • The finding, according to the researchers, is in line with advice to avoid firm squeezing of the tested finger.
  • SOURCE: Diabetes Care, online February 2, 2011.

Our Standards: : “Second drop” sometimes OK for blood sugar testing

Why do I get two different blood sugar readings on different fingers?

Contamination of the fingers is a common culprit in blood sugar reading variability. That’s because it only takes a little bit of food residue on your hands to impact blood glucose levels. For example, just touching a banana or cutting a piece of fruit can send your numbers sky high.

When is the most accurate time to test blood sugar?

Check Your Blood Sugar Often – Not everyone with diabetes needs to check their blood sugar every day. Others need to check it many times a day. Usual times to test your blood sugar are before meals and at bedtime. Your provider may ask you to check your blood sugar 2 hours after a meal or even sometimes in the middle of the night.

If you are having symptoms of low blood sugar ( hypoglycemia )After you eat out, particularly if you have eaten foods you don’t normally eatIf you feel sickBefore or after you exerciseIf you have been under a lot of stressIf you eat too much or skip meals or snacksIf you are taking new medicines, took too much insulin or diabetes medicine by mistake, or took your medicine at the wrong timeIf your blood sugar has been higher or lower than normalIf you are drinking alcohol

Where is the most accurate place to check blood sugar?

Why Finger-Prick Testing? – Finger-prick tests are typically the best way to monitor your blood glucose levels. Plentiful capillaries or small blood vessels in the fingertips make them bleed well and reliably produce samples for testing. Blood samples taken from a fingertip will show blood sugar level changes faster than those taken from other areas of the body due to the increased blood flow in the fingertips.

  • After a carb-heavy meal, for example, a finger-prick test will show blood sugar increases much sooner than a test from your forearm.
  • However, not all finger-prick tests will produce the same results, even if taken at the same time.
  • This is, in part, because samples will vary slightly due to the differing amounts of cells and interstitial fluid (the fluid between the cells) they contain.

This means that if you do multiple tests back-to-back using the same finger, the results can be slightly different. To support accurate finger-prick testing, always wash your hands with soap and water before testing. This removes any residue that could affect results and warms the finger to make getting a blood sample easier.

How soon after waking up should I test my blood sugar?

Blood sugar testing at home – A person can test their blood sugar levels at home. In most cases, doctors ask people to measure fasting blood sugar immediately upon waking and before they have anything to eat or drink. It may also be appropriate to test blood sugar before eating or 2 hours after a meal, which is when blood sugar returns to normal levels.

  1. The right time to test depends on treatment goals and other factors.
  2. For example, most people with diabetes do not need to test between meals unless they are using a diabetes drug that can lower blood sugar.
  3. Other people may test between meals if they feel their sugar levels may be low.
  4. Because people with type 1 diabetes do not make enough insulin, they need to test their blood sugar levels several times a day so they can adjust their insulin doses.
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A person will test blood sugar levels by:

preparing the testing strip and glucose monitor to be ready for the blood sampleusing an alcohol swab to clean the testing area, which is usually the side of a fingertiplancing the testing area and bracing against a firm surface to help resist the impulse to pull awaysqueezing the testing area around the wound to maximize blood flowsqueezing a drop of blood onto the test stripputting the strip into the monitorrecording the time, blood sugar reading, and recent food intake in a log

Find out more about home blood sugar testing here.

What should my blood sugar be when I wake up?

What should your blood sugar be when you wake up? Whenever possible, aim to keep your glucose levels in range between 70 and 130 mg/dL in the morning before you eat breakfast, and between 70 and 180 mg/dL at other times.

Can you have symptoms like diabetes but not diabetic?

Hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia is the term for low blood glucose (sugar). Glucose is produced from the food you eat and from the liver, which stores a form of glucose called glycogen. Glucose is the “fuel” that the brain and other parts of the body need to function properly.

Patients with severe hypoglycemia may experience unconsciousness or seizures due to low blood sugar. Severe hypoglycemia can be dangerous and must be treated promptly. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include: Feeling shaky, sweaty, weak, headache, confusion, feeling like you may pass out, and feeling the heart racing.

is a disease in which blood glucose levels are too high. It is often treated with —the hormone that helps move glucose from the bloodstream into body’s cells—or with medications that increase the body’s insulin production. If these treatments raise the insulin levels too high, blood glucose can drop too low.

  1. Hypoglycemia can also occur if you do not eat when you need to or as much as you need, or if you skip a meal, drink too much alcohol, or exercise more than usual.
  2. Hypoglycemia Unawareness or Impaired Awareness The goal is to help a person recognize symptoms of hypoglycemia early on so they can take action sooner before the glucose drops too low.

In some cases, if a person does not experience the symptoms of hypoglycemia this is called hypoglycemia unawareness. Hypoglycemia unawareness can occur in those patients with diabetes who live with chronically low blood glucose levels so the body stops having symptoms when it occurs.

  • Elderly patients using insulin are at higher risk for hypoglycemia unawareness.
  • The brain and body of those with hypoglycemia unawareness is accustomed to long-standing hypoglycemia, so their normal response to hypoglycemia is impaired.
  • These people may function and live normally with blood glucose values in the 70’s, and only experience symptoms of hypoglycemia when the glucose values drop into the 50’s or below.

People with hypoglycemia unawareness are at much greater risk of experiencing severe hypoglycemia. It is important to identify those who suffer from hypoglycemia unawareness and find a medication regimen for their diabetes which is safe for them and helps them to avoid low glucose levels.

As a family member, friend, or caregiver of someone with diabetes, sit down and talk with that person. Find out what their signs and symptoms are when they have low glucose and what you should do to help them. Find out at what glucose values they have when they gets the symptoms of hypoglycemia. If they are not experiencing any signs of hypoglycemia when their glucose levels are in the 60’s, this can be life threatening and should be discussed with the doctor right away.

Encourage them to wear some type of diabetes identification bracelet or necklace. You should make sure that they have glucagon kit. Glucagon is a medication that can be used to increase the glucose if they become unconscious from hypoglycemia, it can be given as an injection or nasal spray.

  • Family members and care givers should know where the glucagon is located.
  • The best way to avoid hypoglycemia is to test blood glucose regularly, eat meals and snacks on a regular schedule, follow the exercise plan suggested by diabetes health care team, and always take diabetes medications as recommended.

If needed, eat or drink something before and/or during exercise. Ask your doctor if your diabetes medication can cause hypoglycemia. If it can, ask whether you need to take additional precautions. You can avoid hypoglycemia by being prepared. Be prepared to check blood glucose level regularly and especially when you have any symptoms of hypoglycemia.

  1. Be prepared to treat those symptoms by keeping glucose tablets or hard candies handy.
  2. Make sure family and friends are prepared to help if you show signs of low blood glucose.
  3. Also, you should wear a diabetes identification bracelet or necklace to ensure proper emergency care if you are unable to speak for self.

You should check blood glucose level before driving any vehicle or operating machinery to make sure it is in the normal range. This is especially important if you have repeated episodes of hypoglycemia or if you have trouble sensing when blood glucose is low.

Mild: below 70 mg/dL

Hunger Nervousness and shakiness Sweating

Moderate: below 55 mg/dL

Dizziness Sleepiness Confusion Difficulty speaking Feeling anxious or weak

Severe: below 35-40 mg/dL

Seizure or convulsion Loss of consciousness or coma

If you have diabetes and you have symptoms of hypoglycemia, check your blood glucose level right away. If it’s low, you should eat or drink something that will quickly raise blood sugar. For mild to moderate hypoglycemia, you need to consume 15 grams of carbohydrates, such as 4 glucose tablets, 5 or 6 pieces of candy, a cup of milk, 4 ounces of orange juice, or 6 ounces of regular (not diet) soda.

  • Wait 15 minutes and retest blood glucose level.
  • If it is still low, consume another 15 grams of carbohydrates.
  • If hypoglycemia is not corrected right away, it can quickly worsen.
  • You may become very confused and unable to manage your condition.
  • In severe cases, you may even lose consciousness, have a seizure, or go into a coma.
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Close friends and relatives should be aware of condition and be taught how to recognize severe hypoglycemia and treat it quickly with an injection or nasal spray of glucagon (a hormone that raises blood glucose levels) if you are unconscious or unable to do so yourself.

Consciousness is affected Confusion continues after treatment with glucagon Blood glucose remains low despite eating carbohydrates or receiving glucagon

Non-Diabetic Hypoglycemia Non-diabetic hypoglycemia, a rare condition, is low blood glucose in people who do not have diabetes. Clinicians usually want to confirm non-diabetic hypoglycemia by verifying classic symptoms along with a low sugar level AND that these symptoms recover after eating sugar.

Occurs after eating, usually after high carbohydrate meals or snacks Having pre-diabetes or being at risk for diabetes, can lead to trouble making the right amount of insulin A history of stomach surgery, can make food pass too quickly into the small intestine Rare enzyme deficiencies that make it hard for the body to break down food

Fasting hypoglycemia

Occurs overnight when not eating or when there is too much time between meals Medicines, such as salicylates (such as aspirin), sulfa drugs (an antibiotic), pentamidine (to treat a serious kind of pneumonia), quinine (to treat malaria) can increase the risk of this Alcohol, especially binge drinking may lower glucose levels Serious illnesses, such as those affecting the liver, heart, or kidneys can cause low glucose Low levels of certain hormones, such as cortisol, growth hormone, glucagon, thyroid hormone or epinephrine Tumors, such as a tumor in the pancreas that makes insulin or a tumor that makes a similar hormone called IGF-II

For fasting hypoglycemia, you may have blood glucose checked every few hours during a fast lasting several days. For reactive hypoglycemia, you might have a test called a mixed-meal tolerance test (MMTT). For the MMTT, you first have a special drink containing protein, fats, and sugar.

The drink raises blood glucose, causing the body to make more insulin. Then blood glucose level is checked a number of times over the next five hours. Both tests check to see if blood glucose levels drop too low. Doctors might also check blood for insulin levels or other substances. Treatment depends on the cause of hypoglycemia.

For example, if you have a tumor, you may need surgery. If medicine is causing hypoglycemia, you need to change medicines. For reactive hypoglycemia sometimes there are dietary modifications that can be made. Questions for Your Healthcare Provider

Can my diabetes medicines cause hypoglycemia? If I get hypoglycemia, what should I do to bring my blood glucose level back to normal? Do I need a prescription for glucagon? What should I tell my friends and relatives about hypoglycemia? What changes can I make to my diet or exercise plan to avoid hypoglycemia? Should I see a diabetes educator? Should I see an endocrinologist for my care?

: Hypoglycemia

Can I live without knowing I have diabetes?

Could You Have Diabetes and Not Know It? How Accurate Are Home Diabetes Tests According to the American Diabetes Association, of the 30 million Americans who have diabetes, 7 million don’t know it. So, yes, you most certainly can have diabetes and not know it. Without treatment, diabetes can increase your risk of developing other health issues, such as kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy, or heart disease.

Which is more accurate fasting glucose or HbA1c?

METHODS – This cross-sectional population based study was carried out in Kerman city, which is the center of the largest province in south east of Iran. Considering 80% as the minimum sensitivity and specificity of HbA1c in the prediction of FBS>126mg/dl, precision of 3% and significant level of 95%, sample size of 600 people were computed. A total number of 604 individuals were recruited. The city is divided into 30 postal areas. Participants were recruited through a proportional cluster sampling across the city. In each household, people between 18 and 75 years were informed verbally about the study objectives and were requested for their participation. All participants who were invited to participate in the study, agreed for collaboration. They were given a written formal consent form. Since subjects were requested to attend in our reference laboratory for taking blood samples, those who could not attend or did not consent were excluded. The data were collected through a structural face to face interview and laboratory tests. Data collection form included two main sections, the demographic characteristics and also some questions about history of diabetes and taking medications. FBS was measured once using enzyme method and the cutoff point of 126 mg/dl.2 was considered as diagnostic criterion for the diabetes. In order to measure HbA1c, we used Biosystem kit. The cutoff point of 6%, based on the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, 18 was considered as diagnostic criterion for diabetes at the beginning. Then, we checked the sensitivity and specificity of other cutoff points using ROC curve to optimize the accuracy of HbA1c in detection of FBS>126 mg/dl. Afterwards, parameters including sensitivity, specificity, predictive values (positive and negative), and the chance of detecting diabetes and the chance of ruling out diabetes before and after test were calculated. Data were analyzed from descriptive and analytical point of view using Stata software, version 10. The Pearson correlation coefficient between HbA1c and FBS was estimated in the whole sample, and in sub-groups (diabetics versus non-diabetics). In order to explore the effects of possible confounder, in the univariate analysis, the association between each variable and the FBS and also HbA1c was checked. Variables with univariate p value <0.1 were entered in multivariate analysis.

What is the most sensitive test for diabetes?

Selected References – These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.

McCance DR, Hanson RL, Charles MA, Jacobsson LT, Pettitt DJ, Bennett PH, Knowler WC. Comparison of tests for glycated haemoglobin and fasting and two hour plasma glucose concentrations as diagnostic methods for diabetes. BMJ.1994 May 21; 308 (6940):1323–1328.

Articles from The BMJ are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group

Can you have diabetes even if your blood test is normal?

– The most commonly used blood test for diabetes is far less accurate than glucose tolerance testing, researchers are reporting. In a recent study, researchers reported that the A1C test missed 73 percent of cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes that were later picked up by a glucose monitoring test.