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Finger Stick Glucose Vs Serum Glucose

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Meter Accuracy

Two things landed on my desk recently. One was a newspaper article saying that the Food and Drug Administration has asked the international body that sets standards for home blood glucose meters to tighten its accuracy requirements. (A public meeting on the topic is scheduled for March 16 and 17.) The other was a letter from a Diabetes Self-Management subscriber who described how she had attempted to compare two home meters with a plasma glucose measurement done in a laboratory — and how she was unnerved when she got three different readings. Stricter standards for meter accuracy would be a welcome development: Currently, most available blood glucose meters are accurate only to within 10% to 15% of the actual blood glucose level. But it will likely be a while before standards are changed and more accurate meters become the norm. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to get the best possible results from your meter. One of the most important is to use only strips made for your meter and to use them correctly. This includes making sure the strips have not passed their expiration date, coding your meter for each new batch of strips (if you use a meter that requires coding), Continue reading >>

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  1. Avalon1957

    plasma glucose vs. whole blood glucose .... and A1C

    Wow!
    After 2 years I have finally learned the difference between plasma glucose (which is what 3rd party blood labwork reports) and whole blood glucose (which is what most home testing fingerstick meters report).
    I always wondered why my A1C returned by my 3rd party blood labwork always seemed too high based on my home fingerstick measurements. And why my home meter was always 8 to 10 points too low when compared to the 3rd party plasma glucose readings.
    A home fingerstick meter measures Whole Blood Glucose.
    While 3rd party blood-sample bloodwork labs measure Plasma Glucose.
    Plasma Glucose is typically 11% to 15% higher than whole Blood Glucose. So i was getting a false impression of too low numbers from my fingerstick home meter.
    So the whole "magical" and wonderful fasting glucose measurement of < 100 ... is a Plasma Glucose number.
    If you want to get there ... your home meter, which measures Whole Blood Glucose, needs to read < 90.
    Here is a great resource for seeing how these 2 numbers map to each other.
    I can't believe it took me 2 years to find this (why this isnt talked about or documented more, I will never know!)
    http://www.medindia.net/patients/calculators/bloodsugar-hba1c-convertor.asp

  2. DavidHueben

    Avalon:
    It is true that home glucometers measure whole blood glucose vs. plasma glucose. However, nearly all current glucometers have a built-in correction factor that converts the measurement to a plasma glucose equivalent.
    Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. - General George Patton Jr

  3. nwsmom

    Thank you David! There are a lot of misconceptions out here, you just dispelled one of them.

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