Category Archives: BG Meters

Giveaway Winner.

There were 7 commenters willing and eligible to be entered into the “drawing” for the meter giveaway.

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The winner of the Accu-chek Nano meter is: T1!! Congratulations!! Please send me an email at staceydblog@gmail.com with your address so that I can ship it to you. I hope you like it 🙂

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Roche Summit Part 2. Technology.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the trip to Indianapolis was the opportunity to visit and see firsthand Roche’s main campus, including their Research and Development area and the test strip manufacturing plant.  Seeing before my own eyes how much equipment and effort goes into making Accu-chek test strips was mind boggling.  Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of their production – there are 100,000 vials of 50 test strips manufactured in just one lot.  200 vials per minute are packaged for different countries.  Whoa.  And that is just one test strip manufacturer.  Imagine putting them all together?!  Our tour guide mentioned that the motto in the plant is that “every strip counts”.  I like that.  With how valuable and critical test strip results are, it was good to hear and I hope that all involved take it that seriously.

We also got to hear from some of Roche’s executives on the current and future state of their diabetes technology.  Believe it or not (and I’ll take their word for it) there are 180 companies involved with diabetes technology in one way or another.  180!  They want to make products more useful with integration which was reassuring since isn’t that what we all want?  But it is a work in progress.  And with the FDA seemingly so slow with approving diabetes devices, we have to do our part as patients to assist all pharma companies in dealing with the FDA by voicing our opinions and providing feedback whenever possible.  Their new Combo insulin pump system was discussed and October of this year looks to be when it will be available here in the US.  They shared some upcoming products with us so it looks like they will be busy for some time.

Now to the fun part.  I was given an Accu-chek Nano meter from Roche.  Since I already have one (why yes I do tend to get myself the latest and greatest diabetes equipment!) I would love to give this new one to one of my readers.  To be fair, all attendees from the Social Media Summit will not be eligible.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I will use one of those handy-dandy random number generators to pick the winner and will announce it here on Friday.    The deadline to participate is Thursday, August 9th at noon EST.  It comes with 10 Smartview test strips and the new FastClix lancet device if you haven’t tried that yet.  It is a nice little meter and I really like it but if I’m going to be honest, two things hold me back from using it as my primary meter – lack of a port light where you insert the strips and the batteries it uses (CR2032).  Good luck!!

Fantasy Diabetes Device.

Today is day 4 of Diabetes Blog Week and the topic is: “Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary. Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be? Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc. etc. etc. The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?

I know this topic is probably meant to get everyone’s thinking cap on and get creative.  And honestly I can’t wait to see what everyone came up with.  However, I am going to be boring and to the point 🙂 

There is one major thing that I would love to have in my diabetes devices which is sadly lacking in 2012.  Glucose.  Meter.  Accuracy.  Period.  You may even be tired of “hearing” me on this subject.  Yet I think it is something that we should all want and work hard to advocate for.  By definition, a fantasy is the faculty or activity of imagining things that are impossible or improbable.  Is greater meter accuracy impossible?  I wouldn’t think so although I’m no clincial expert.  Is more accruacy improbable?  At this point in time I’d say yes.  Sure the glucose meters available to patients today are faster, smaller and more accurate than they were when they first came out decades ago.  However, the current accuracy standard set by the FDA is + or – 20%.  This is not good enough.  Diabetes affects millions of people.  And the numbers continue to grow.  Diabetes is also managed by the patients close to 100% of the time, unlike many other conditions.  This means that those glucose meters used by people with diabetes every single day are the most important tool for them in staying healthy.  In preventing those dreadful complications.  In avoiding life threatening low blood sugars.  It is stressed by every medical professional in the world that tight control should be the goal of everyone living with diabetes.  Well how can that be achieved if the meters we use to monitor our BG readings aren’t accurate enough? 

So forget fancy insulin pumps or continuous gluose monitors.  Yeah those would be nice to have.  But as long as my pancreas isn’t working and I need to monitor my blood glucose in order to stay alive, I wish for gluocose meters that give me readings I don’t have to second guess.

One Great Thing.

Today’s Topic is this: “Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”. But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit. Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly! Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes. Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!

So we have to pick just one great thing we do.  Well, it is really hard for me to pick only one great thing that I do spectacularly.  I do everything related to diabetes spectacularly!  I am thee perfect diabetes patient! 

Okay, let’s get serious.  If only the above were true, I’d be walking around with an A1c of 6% all the time and my Dexcom graphs would be flat lines constantly.  A girl can dream 😉 

With that being said, I do have to give myself credit for knowing what my blood sugar is.  I went from a period where I probably only checked about once a day, to testing (on average) a minimum of 8 times daily.  It may help just a little that I tend to have my hands on the latest, cool, glucose meter.  Hey whatever helps right?  But not only that, it has been over 2 years since I let a day go by without using my Dexcom.  And I act on those readings too.  If I’m high, I correct until I’m in a better range.  If I’m dropping, I try to head off a low by lowering basal insulin or having a small snack.  Knowing what your BG is, is a crucial piece of managing one’s diabetes.  I certainly don’t have anything perfected, even after 30+ years but I do try.  And I try hard.

I like this topic a lot.  Living with diabetes can seem so daunting and difficult and scary most of the time.  And there are so many moments potentially leading us to feel like we don’t do things well enough.  But we do many things well and focusing on the positive is something we should all do more often.  Thanks for this Karen!

Too Much to Ask?

I’ve posted before about the lack of glucose meter accuracy and if we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve seen pictures I’ve taken comparing meter results. When I was using the One Touch Ping meter that worked with my pump, I had issues with it giving me false low readings. Luckily I have the Dexcom CGM so in seeing the discrepancy between meter and sensor readings, I would retest to get a higher reading. One Touch was very accommodating and sent me a new meter which solved that issue. Mostly. At the time my CDE suggested I try the Freestyle meter which I did and switched for some time to primarily use the Freestyle Lite.  I did many comparisons between the two meters with the same blood sample and got substantial differences. I put a stop to that pretty much for my own sanity. In the end I stuck with the Ping meter mainly for convenience of the remote bolus function with my pump and also being a long time One Touch user.

Then, two months ago, I switched to the OmniPod system and the Freestyle PDM became my primary meter since it also functions as the manager to all insulin dosage functions. In that same time period, I purchased the new One Touch Verio IQ meter. Although the Verio is not my primary meter, I do like it a lot. Of course I have done some reading comparisons between the two. And I’m back to getting very considerable differences.

A couple of weeks ago I read a post by Mike over at Every Day Ups and Downs. He had reviewed the new iBGStar meter from Sanofi. In his review, he noted that the iBGStar was giving him readings higher than other meters (Accu-chek Expert and Contour Link). In posting his results, he got confirmation from Sanofi that “the iBGStar has been developed to give readings which are automatically corrected against Haematocrit* and plasma values. Both of these corrections can mean that your new iBGStar monitor may give readings higher than you are used to. If you have any concerns over what this change of readings may mean, we would advise you to consult your doctor or other healthcare practitioner for further training.” This made me wonder if the new Verio has been developed similarly.

Also, a few days ago I read a post by Adam over at diaTribe, reviewing the new meters on the market, including the Verio. In his findings, the Verio had 100% accuracy with results under 75 mg/dL and 95% accuracy with results over 75 mg/dL compared to lab readings. That is some pretty solid findings. It also made me wonder about my own comparisons using the Verio.

While I appreciate all the new technology coming out or being worked on – mySentry, Telcare, AP, etc. and think they are hugely beneficial to the lives of those living with diabetes, what I want the most is a BG meter that will give me results I can rely on. One that will not be just plus or minus 20% of my actual BG. My next endo appointment is in 3 weeks and I plan on taking both the PDM and Verio meters to be tested at the lab. If the Verio results are indeed more “accurate”, as much as I wouldn’t want to, I would consider changing it to my primary meter. It will be an inconvenience in some ways but may be worth it if it means trusting the results more.

FDA and BG meter companies – without accurate BG readings, all else in our management means nothing. I can eat all the right things, count every last carb, test 20 times a day, exercise every single day and dose the most precise amount of insulin. But if my readings aren’t accurate all of those other things will not help me keep my diabetes in control. I can’t help but wonder if this is the very reason I cannot seem to get my a1c under 7. My BG levels may not actually be what they seem. And that to me, as a person with diabetes, is a huge problem.

New Toy.

I admit that I am a total gadget junkie. Ask my family and friends … if there is a new device available in the market, chances are I have it. Or am planning on getting it. iPods to Blackberrys to iPhones to iPads to Nooks to Kindles. I’ve had them all at one point. And if I still use them, I most likely have the latest generation. Since diabetes management tools have taken a more technological turn in more recent years, those gadgets are not excluded from my obsession. I have used almost all of the insulin pumps and meters out there. The ones available in the US anyway. My newest toy as I like to think of them is the Verio IQ meter from One Touch. A few of my friends had received the product for their own review however I saw it on the shelf when I was in CVS last week. I had a CVS coupon so decided to purchase it (its retail price there is $59.99) and try it out.

Overall I like it. It is lightweight and petite. The screen is color and very vivid. It has a port light where you put the strips in – which is actually quite bright.

This is extremely helpful when testing at night or in low light areas. Each reading gives you the opportunity to select before or after meal.

I test a lot of times a day and not always right before or after a meal. (I’m not always eating!) This feature to me could have been improved by giving the option to not select either or to give more choices. I like the history it gives – 7, 14, 30 and 90 day averages which are easily accessible from the home menu. It does not use good ol’ AA or AAA or even those pesky CR2032 circular batteries. It charges like other electronics.

I like this since I wouldn’t have to worry about carrying extra batteries around for it and I’m pretty good about charging my devices regularly overnight. It also gives trend alerts when it detects trends in BG readings at certain times of the day.

This is a very nice feature to have that trend shown to you without having to download any data first.  This meter does not use the typical One Touch Ultra blue strips like the other One Touch meters. It uses strips specific to the Verio meter. There is no coding for the strips and this is a huge plus to me. The appearance of the strips are actually a bit strange since there is a sort of opening at the bottom where it feeds into the meter. No biggie though. It takes in the blood on the side which is also different. It seems to be a bit easier to me. The readings I’ve compared to my other meters always ran higher. Now I’m not sure if this is good nor bad, just higher. (I have many opinions on the accuracy of BG meters but won’t go into that today) I haven’t tried to download results as of now so cannot comment on that feature.

I won’t be using this is as my primary meter since I’m waiting to be switched to the OmniPod which uses its own PDM and Freestyle strips combo for BG testing. But I do like it and will probably keep it as an alternate meter. One side note – I tried to pay for the meter and strips with my FSA card. I have purchased other meters and strips successfully in the past however this was not automatically covered. Something for me to look into I suppose.

**July 2012 Update**  I realized that my full opinion of this meter has changed a bit since I originally posted this.  For the past few months I have actually been using the Verio as my primary meter.  After using the PDM with my OmniPod for a while, I felt the readings were much lower compared to other meters I have, the Verio being one of them.  At my endo appointment in April I had the lab test BG results from both the PDM and Verio.  (For those that do not know how this is done, when the lab draws blood from your arm they take a sample of that blood and apply it to the test strip at that moment and compare that reading to the one received when the entire blood sample is sent to the lab. Quite interesting actually)  My lab reading was 146 mg/dL.  The PDM was  139 mg/dL and the Verio was 151 mg/dL.  Yes both were close however a 3% difference is better than 5% in my book.  Also, the times where I have taken back to back tests with the Verio have resulted in either the same exact or very close results.  This certainly reduces my doubt in the readings I get.  So not only do I love the quickness, brightness and usefulness of the meter, it is more accurate in my experience as well.

Appealing.

Today I do not have any device attached to me. There is nothing in my pocket or clipped to the waistband of my pants. For the first time in five years.

When I first went on the pump five years ago, the only options I really considered were Minimed and Animas. I believe OmniPod was very new at that time and I hadn’t even really heard about them. I was new to the diabetes online community and had very little knowledge about pumps. I sought out information from both companies and when Minimed was the first to get back to me, I went with them. Since then, when Animas came out with the Ping pump, I spent a little time with their rep getting to know the Ping and decided to switch. I’ve been using the Ping (mainly) for two and a half years now. And I have been happy with it. I was even happy with my Minimed when I used it. I never really gave much thought to being tubeless. The tubing never seemed to bother me much. I got used to it pretty quickly.

More recently however, I started thinking about how nice it would be to be able to control all my insulin delivery from my Ping remote, instead of just the boluses. And how frustrating the clip on my pump has been, having to replace it three times in the past few months. How much more convenient it would be not to have to disconnect for showers. The idea of the pod became much more appealing. I’ve received demo pods from OmniPod in the past and I found them to be a bit too bulky. However I wanted to use the system to really get to know how it works. And so last night I was trained and set up with a trial of pods and PDM.

It’s only been about 17 hours with it but my first impressions are so far very positive. By far the biggest difference is not being tethered. I cannot even explain how different it feels to not have something in my pocket. Not having to finagle the pump under my chin while dressing. Not having to worry about keeping the pump clipped on while pulling down clothing when using the ladies room. Not having an attachment on my body while sleeping.  The little things that you just get accustomed to.  My pump has been like an extra limb. And with the OmniPod, it feels like that limb is now gone! It is so exhilarating. The pod insertion is incredibly easy compared to inserting an infusion set. All you have to do is stick the pod on your body and the PDM does the actual needle inserting and priming for you. And it really doesn’t hurt more than an infusion set. The PDM. This thing is great. Yeah it’s larger than most meters these days and beeps pretty loudly but I control every aspect of insulin delivery with it. And that’s pretty darn cool. It also has a wide variety of data available on it, unlike other pumps and meters. Such as trends, graphs of BG readings and averages with goals of BG readings. It also lists last BG, last bolus amount with times along with current basal, temp basal amount and duration if applicable on the status screen.

The only downside so far are the pod itself is a bit bulky to be honest. I’m still getting used to that but it’s not horrible. It doesn’t feel so uncomfortable that I want to rip it off. I’m wearing it on my lower back so I do feel that it’s there but again not like I can’t stand it. And it also delivers boluses pretty darn slow. I took a pretty large dose this morning for breakfast and thought there was something wrong with either the pod or the PDM because it took so long! But I was reassured by the OmniPod clinician that it does delivery slowly. Phew.

Generally I was not looking to switch pumps at this time. However I may decide to do just that in the next few days if my experience continues to be a pleasant one.

Sidenote: OmniPod did not ask me to do this trial or compensate me in any way for it.  Nor did they ask me for my review.  I facilitated the trail on my own accord and the opinions expressed here are those of my own experience.

Not Sure What to Think.

Recently I mentioned in a post that I have been testing my BG 17-19 times on some days.  I am trying to “control” my BG like never before but those frequent tests do not have all to do with my efforts.  I can thank many of those tests for the lack of confidence I have in my glucose meter readings. A few months ago I blogged about frustration I was having with my One Touch meter, leading me to switch my primary meter to the Freestyle Lite.  Since then, I have used the Ping meter on occasion since I am lazy it is convenient to be able to bolus from that, especially when I wear a dress or skirt and the pump is tucked away.  Also on occasion, I have continued my comparison between the two meters.  Here is where things take a turn.  When I conducted my “testing” between meters back a few months ago, the Freestyle was ALWAYS higher.  And I mean always.  Now in recent weeks, every time I do a comparison, the Freestyle is ALWAYS lower.  And I mean always.  (Except when I encountered a meter reading fantasy and the meters read the exact same!)  This is so perplexing. 

I was so sure that since using One Touch, I was not getting a1c results I expected since it was reading lower than my actual BG readings.  Now, I’m not so sure.  I don’t know what to think most times when I test my BG.  All I want is a reading that will help me manage my diabetes and let me make the right decisions that my health and life depend on.  All I want is information I can work with to get my a1c below 7%.  How am I supposed to do that if I’m not even sure what my BG really is?  Can the FDA or a diabetes meter company answer that for me?

Thank goodness for Edgepark allowing a split shipment of test strips between different kinds. I’m not sure what I would be doing if I didn’t have that option.