How accurate are your diabetes test strips and glucose monitors?

Last month, we asked people with diabetes toshare what they payfor their test strips. Its part of our ongoing#PriceCheck collaboration.

Weve heard that the cost of test strips can vary greatly. Weve also heard that these test strips and the blood glucose monitors theyre used with can provide inaccurate data. As weve dug into this topic, people with diabetes and clinicians have told us that the inaccuracy of these strips and glucometers is a huge and life-threatening issue.

Accuracy questioned

Strip Safelyis an online campaign intended to raise awareness about the inaccurate blood glucose test strips and monitors on the market and spark change. Heres how it describes this problem:

Patients using meters that fail to meet accuracy standards face increased risks.Inaccurately high meter readings may cause patients to take too much insulin resulting in insulin shock. Conversely,meters that incorrectly show low results may keep patients from taking enough insulin. To [sic] little insulin may cause high blood glucose andpossiblyriskydiabetic ketoacidosis.

On the diabetes blogSix Until Me,Kerri Morrone Sparling wrote in 2011 about her experiments with different glucose meters. She has photos of several meters displaying very different blood sugar numbers. She writes:

I know there is an acceptable 20% margin of error, but how would you even know to double-check your meter? This issue matters to me, and it matters a lot. These glucose meters are the only tools I have to monitor my blood sugars, and I make treatment decisions based on their results. I need them to be consistent, and accurate. If Im treating highs that arent high, I could end up with a serious hypoglycemic event. And if Im treating lows that arent lows, Ill end up running higher and that, in the long run, will hurt my body.

Chime in

Well delve into why some meters are inaccurate and what is, or isnt, being done about it in a later post.

But to kick offNational Diabetes Month, we want to hear from you: What are your experiences with inaccurate diabetes test strips and glucose monitors? How does the inaccuracy affect your health? Does it change how you manage your diabetes? What can you do to fix the situation? Tell us about it in the comments section below, or e-mail us at

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