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How can I check the performance of my diabetic meter?

Blood glucose meter testing strips can vary from batch to batch. There may be differences in the amount of chemical on the strips in each batch. So, when you open a new batch of strips, you must standardize or calibrate your meter to make up for these small differences. If you don’t calibrate, all your results with the new strips may read higher or lower than they really are. Instructions for calibration are included in every new package of strips. Some machines calibrate all by themselves -- you don’t have to do anything when you open a new batch of strips or the disk. Almost all meters provide a standard solution known as a “control” solution. It contains a known amount of glucose to help check for accuracy. If you measure the amount of glucose in this standard solution in your meter and your meter shows a reading that is either too high or too low, your machine could be giving you a faulty reading. The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you how often to check the control solution for best results. If you are having a problem with accuracy, first check to see if your problems are being caused by old or damaged test strips. Then call the manufacturer of your meter. There may be something wrong with your meter. You can usually order a vial of standard glucose solution by calling your machine’s manufacturer. Date your control solution when you open it, and remember that it is good for one month.

Your diabetic meter runs a performance check each time you turn it on, and displays an error code if a problem is detected. These error codes are listed in your owner’s manual. In addition, you should periodically test your meter’s performance with a liquid control solution, particularly when you start a new package of test strips or when you get an unusual result. It’s also a good idea to take your meter with you when you see the doctor and compare it against the one in the laboratory. If the results match, your diabetic meter is working properly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.