We have previously discussed what are common causes of test strip errors. In this article, we will address tips on how to deal with common problems when using a glucose meter at home.
Glucose monitoring at home plays a major role in diabetes management. It is evident that quality of life has improved for those who properly monitor their glucose levels at home. Home monitoring of glucose levels comes with some challenges, one of which is the use of the glucose meter. Even with the most expensive and well-designed meters you may find yourself trouble shooting from time to time.
10 Most Common Problems with the Use of Glucose Meters
- Test strip is damaged or used. Repeat the test with a new test strip. Glucose test strips are for single use – do NOT reuse strips!
- Test Strip is expired. Repeat the test with a new strip. To avoid getting erroneous results check the expiration on the test strip vial. Do not use short-dated test strips.
- Test strip is not fully inserted in the meter. Always check the test strip to make sure it is fully inserted in the meter.
- Test strip is moved. Do not move the test strips after it’s fully inserted in the meter.
- Test strip or control solution is kept at temperature above or below the operating range. Be sure to store your test strips and control solution at proper temperatures according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
- Not sufficient amount of blood is applied to test strip. Check the instructions for sufficient amount of blood sample then repeat the test with a new sample and test strip.
- Sample site is contaminated. Always clean and dry the sample site before lancing and sampling.
- Low Battery! Change the batteries and redo the test.
- Alternative sites – sample sites other than fingertips. Be aware that the readings of samples obtained from alternative sites may not match the readings obtained from fingertips.
- Squeezing fingertip too hard because blood is not flowing. If you press your fingertip too hard, the results may be falsely low. In that case repeat the test with a new blood sample.
Glucose meters deliver inaccurate results when there are problems with the test strip, problems with the meter, or when your blood sugar level is higher or lower than normal. Improper use of the glucose monitoring system may result in erroneous results that can directly impact your health. Inaccurate results could also be due to user error. Therefore it’s always a great idea to carefully read the instructions before using your meter.
You may encounter other problems such as glucose readings that are hard to justify. In those circumstances, call the manufacturer’s support line dedicated to address such questions. You will find the phone number in the package insert of your meter.
This article is meant for simple troubleshooting and common user errors. It is therefore not intended as medical advice. If ever in doubt, please contact your healthcare provider.