Monday, 9 December 2013

Roulette, Anyone?!

Far left - Naomi: 4.5, 3.0, 4.5
Top left - Sam:13.4, 12.6
Top right - Me: 15.3, 17.0
Bottom - Katie: 20.8, 24.9, 23.3 

I'd never really given much though to blood glucose meter accuracy. At the age of 17, in the middle of my final year at sixth form, about to sit A-Levels with the hope of going to university that September, I was told that I had type one diabetes. On hearing that my pancreas had failed me, I never even thought about my meter potentially failing me too! I was discharged from hospital with insulin and my trusty One Touch Glucose meter. The thought of the meter giving me incorrect results wasn't a thought at the time. The doctors gave it to me, explained how important blood glucose monitoring was and that was that.

It wasn't until December 2012 that I started questioning meter accuracy. For the first time since diagnosis, I was offered a new meter, and it wasn't a One Touch. I never thought I'd be that person that gets attached to a blood glucose meter, but as it turns out, I was...I still am! I was given an Accu-Chek Aviva Expert as it has a bolus advice function. I love the bolus advice function on it, but when I first started using it, I was also checking my glucose levels on my old One Touch to see how the results compared. Now, I just use the Accu-Chek, but there was a trust issue at the start. I'd only ever had One Touch meters, so changing meter and manufacturer was a pretty big deal for me!
The readings that my meter flashes back at me after the five second countdown are what I base numerous decisions on, day-in, day-out. It dictates whether I treat for a hypo or a hyper; whether I bolus before eating or wait until I've eaten a little as I'm on the verge of a low blood sugar; whether I'm safe to work out; whether I'm safe to work with children. I have to be able to trust the results my meter is giving me.

If these numbers are wrong, it means I'm making decisions regarding my diabetes management on false truths. This is not okay. It could mean that I am taking a correction dose of insulin that isn't actually enough to bring my blood sugar back into range. Or it could be the opposite, and that I'm taking too much as my blood sugar is actually lower than the reading being presented to me on my meter. Either way, the point remains the same: we need to be able to trust the readings our meters are giving us to make good, healthy decisions, and not just for ourselves, but for our mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, partners, children, those that depend on us. 

Accuracy is important, and it's time to make sure the right people know that. How?! It's easy: you can sign the petition started by Spirit by clicking here. It only takes two minutes. If you blog, maybe write about why meter accuracy is important to you. Diabetes is difficult enough to live with, without use having to second-guess the technology we use.

Disclosure: I was asked by Spirit Healthcare to write a blog post regarding blood glucose meter accuracy in order to spread the word about their campaign, so I have - it's something I definitely feel needs to be addressed! Also, thank you to the lovely members of the SDUK Facebook group for the images of their blood glucose checks. I have more images that I will put in another post. If you would like to send me an image similar to those above, please use the email me button top right of this page.     

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