Trust with Supplies

Hi all,

I’m new to this forum although I’ve had diabetes for almost 15 years. I was wondering if anyone has any advice on trusting your diabetes supplies? Yesterday I discovered that my meter readings were wrong, and it freaked me out to think that I could be correcting inaccurately and now I feel like I don’t really trust my backup meter or my CGM either (although they seem to be working fine). I’ve also been having intense anxiety about hypos, so this has only made that worse. Has anyone else gone through this? What has helped alleviate those feelings?

I don’t know if this is still the case but meters used to come with a bottle of calibration liquid included in the kit - it might be something to purchase separately now. You might check with the manufacturer.

Hi @Abee and welcome! Regarding above: How? I mean did you compare it with a CGM, another meter, with a hospital grade instrument or a blood test? Just curious. Home meters can be “off” about +/-15% of indicated reading. So if you see 250mg/dl your actual blood sugar could be anywhere from 212 to 287. That’s not wrong, that’s just an accuracy issue. Cheers.

@Abee Hi Aislinn, and welcome to the JDRF TypeOneNation Forum.

I’m concerned about the apparent inaccuracy that you’ve noticed with your BG Meters, and like @Joe, I question what makes you think that the meters, or your CGM is not reporting accurately. To be comfortable with myself, and with my diabetes management, I must feel confident that my tools are working properly - I must trust them completely while staying alert as to how I am feeling. I’ve found the newer meters [the recent 35 or so years], are quite reliable.

That said, it is very difficult to “check accuracy” by comparing the number displayed on a BGM with the display number on a CGM. One is measuring blood glucose, the other body fluid glucose - yes, they can coincide. If you are checking a CGM reading by using a meter, you must look at at leasy the four most recent CGM valuse, AND not direction of arrows; combine that information with what you have done during the previous four hours. For example, my CGM reads 100 mg/dl with two arrows point up; I would expect my meter, at that time, to read between 145 mg/dl and 175 mg/dl - then both would be equal and accurate readings.

Keep in mind too, that if you are comparing a BGM reading with a lab test, that blood from a vein, and blood from a capillary [fingerstick] would rarely be the same.

Speaking of backup meters: when I first started doing multiple injections and fingersticks (early '80s when the concept was relatively new) I had one meter. Can’t tell you how many times I got to the office and discovered I had forgotten it, so my doctor told me I could use two separate ones as long as they were the same make and model. One stayed in my kitchen and the other in my purse, and from the to time I would check my glucose on both at the same time. I didn’t expect them to match 100% and I don’t recall the allowable deviation but as long as they were both in the same ballpark I was fine.

@Abee, @joe, @Dennis, @wadawabbit

Dorie, Joe, & Dennis have given you great information. First things first, welcome to T1N.

I have an additional piece to add to your thoughts. I tested my G6 CGM, a OneTouch Verio Flex, a Tandem t:Slim X2 with Control-IQ software, and a hospital lab in January, 2020 over several days while I was hospitalized following open heart surgery. The OT Verio and the G6 were within expected ranges with the hospital lab, so the OT Verio was only cheched one day. The most exciting piece of information for me and the nursing staff caring for me was the G6 CGM compared to the hospital lab.

Side info: When blood is drawn from a vein like the hospital lab draws, the red blood cells continue to consume the sugar/glucose in the blood until the blood cells are separated from the plasma part of the blood. So, the longer the phlebotomist carries your specimen around making other draws and returns to the lab, the lower the glucose level goes. On the other hand, it takes 15-30 minutes for glucose to make it from the blood stream to the interstitial fluid bathing the body cells and the CGM sensor wire.

Now, THE BOTTOM LINE: I was able to compare, by noting the CGM displayed value, the hospital lab glucose determination with the recorded CGM data on four days. The hospital determination was alway 14 mg/dL lower than the G6 CGM value.

Based on this informal comparison, I am a believer. The medical community reports the G6 CGM is accurate enough for dosing insulin if all of the instructions are followed. I can suggest you do the same research when you have labs drawn at a point of care provider site. Note your CGM, ask to do a simultaneous finger stick when your blood is drawn and make these same comparisons for yourself. Be sure to allow the variation stated by the device manufacturers as you make these personal observations.

Please share with us what you learn. Sharing helps all of us learn.

Hi @Abee - I’m baaack! Apologies, but my ideas come in bits and pieces so I frequently tack on new contributions.

You’ve gotten a number of responses to your meter issue but I just picked up in your anxiety about low glucose. That’s a reality we all need to keep in mind and plan for. I see you’ve had diabetes for 15 years and am wondering if this level of anxiety is new, and if so if you know how it may have started? Without details about you and how you manage things I can just hazard a few guesses as to possibilities. So…
I’m wondering if you’re relatively new to using a CGM? Getting updated readings every 5 minutes can be both helpful and challenging. When I first started with Dexcom, when I saw those arrows my immediate thought was “Oh no, I’ve got to do something - right now!” - when I really needed to train myself to wait a few minutes to see if things level out. Rising numbers and arrows had me stacking insulin like crazy, and dropping ones had me eating everything in sight. Thankfully I’m much more thoughtful now.
Obviously if I’m already “up there” or in a low zone, I should confirm with a fingerstick if possible and take action. But if I’m in normal range I need to remind myself to remain calm. Anyway, all of that was to say if you are new to using a CGM and you see dropping arrows or dropping numbers, that can certainly heighten your anxiety about going low.
The best way to manage anxiety about lows (IMO) is to keep them from happening as best you can. DUHHH - you are free to call me “Captain Obvious” along with any other names that might be in your mind right now. You didn’t say whether you are on a pump or injections. I use a pump myself and there have been times when my settings were causing me to go low frequently. I managed - usually overcorrecting in the process - but those frequent lows were a sign that I needed to check my background settings. Tweaking them got me me stable with fewer lows, so my body responds more quickly, and with less carbs, than before.
If you take injections you may need to check your basal insulin and even your carb ratios for mealtime shots. I can’t speak much on injections but there are others on the forum who can; but timing of the basal injection as well as number of units and even the type of insulin can make a difference.
So whether you pump or inject, if you’re having frequent lows and are not comfortable making your own adjustments, I encourage you to speak with your endo to discuss pump settings or injection factors that might help.
If it gives you any additional reassurance, there is now an inhaled form of Glucagon. Easier and much less intimidating than mixing components in an emergency, but hopefully you can get back to safe levels instead of needing it.
Having said all that I could be totally of base😫 and it’s something else entirely. If so and you would like to share please do and we’ll do what we can to help you out.