Two posts in one day. Another first for me ;)
Strip Safely. This is a fairly new collaboration within the diabetes online community to spread knowledge about the fact that the glucose test strips we use today, yes in 2013, are not completely accurate. I have known this and it is an issue that bothers me greatly. I think about all the people with diabetes who are not aware of an issue like this. Those that are outside of the diabetes community. Those that take their BG readings for granted. And it can set someone up for major tragedy. Since I know my BG meter is not 100% accurate, I always double and triple check if I get a questionable reading. Too high or too low or totally off from my Dexcom, continuous glucose monitor. Someone who is naive to meter accuracy, would go ahead and dose insulin based on a questionable reading. That could lead to an immediate danger of an insulin overdose or not administering enough insulin which could lead to high blood sugar and the subsequent complications.
I don’t want to go back to the days of urine testing where you knew in what “range” your sugar was. When I was diagnosed in 1981 that was the method used to test glucose levels. You peed on a strip (similar to ketone test strips) and your urine turned it a certain color depending on how much glucose was in your urine. Probably from hours ago. That color represented a range of readings. When I bolus from my insulin pump today, it doesn’t ask me what range my blood glucose is. It asks for a specific reading that is used to calculate a precise amount of insulin needed to either correct a high or cover carbohydrates. Carb counting and insulin dosing can be difficult enough at times without factoring in an inaccurate blood glucose reading.
Every single thing about diabetes management lies in the blood sugar. How can one possibly manage blood sugar if they do not know with certainty what it is? The answer? One cannot. And when people’s lives are at stake I can’t think of any better reason to campaign for better test strip accuracy and oversight over that market.
Take the time to write a letter to your elected officials. Urge them to attend the Diabetes Technology Society meeting taking place on September 9th. Tonight on Twitter, there is a special time designated between 8 and 9pm, EST, to tweet about this issue to your elected officials. They need to be aware of this important issue. We need support to get this resolved. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #stripsafely