Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

The blog of Xeno, a slightly mad scientist

The Great Blood Glucose Meter Conspiracy (GBGMC)

If you are on insulin or other medications, don’t do anything stupid based on what I’m about to propose. Consult your doctor.

Okay. What if your glucose meter is lying to you? I mean beyond the typical complaints about the FDA allowing meters to be 20% (plus or minus – that’s a huge 40% spread) compared to labs. What if… all glucose meters on the market were programmed to be artificially 30-38 points high 95% of the time?

Strange idea, right? Well, this would explain a lot of my frustrating experiences over the past 8 months of testing. It would explain why totally normal readings pop up from time to time. It would explain why I can work really hard at it and get down into the “normal” 90s … and feel scary low, like I’m going to pass out, like I can’t even move. It would explain why my control solution (~80mg/dL according to the side of the box ) read 116, 118, and 111 mg/dL on the meter this morning! WTH!?? That makes my blood readings of 102, 101 and 104 actually 66, 63, and 73. No wonder I felt dizzy! (I had 1/4 pint camel milk last night, got plenty of sleep, and had walked 14,707 steps the day before according to my FitBit.)

A GBGMC would explain the bizarre situation that the people who send me the test solution demand to know my home address and won’t ship to a PO box “because the boxes are too small” (huh?) and why they do not know the glucose concentration of the control sample they sent me. I was told they are never asked that question! Just make sure your reading is in the “normal” range on the bottle for the test strips. Jesus, is my country really this brain damaged?? A *control* solution is a standard, a known fairly exact quantity by which you adjust your instrument’s readings.

Quiz time: If 80 real is a 116 reading, then a 102 reading is:

A) 102 real
B) normal
C) 66 real, dangerously low
D) l like sugar

The GBGMC would explain the dramatic rise of America’s impaired fasting glucose, suddenly making everyone’s normal 85 reading a pre-diabetic 115.

Where is the profit in that kind of scheme/scam? Sales: Meters, test strips, kick backs, big money.

Question everything.

I have given the company that makes Wallmart’s Relion Prime test strips several opportunities to explain this. I specifically asked why I should not adjust my blood sugar reading down 30 points if my control solution is high by 30 points. The answer, and we went around and around for 30 minutes just now, is that the reading would be inaccurate if I did that. Why? Because they are two different reactions. That’s not an answer. The strips use the same chemical reaction for real blood that they do for the control. Neither is it an answer that the FDA allows a 20% variability, because the control solution is fairly consistent over three days, my multiple readings are all around 112.

Of course, I may have gotten a bad control solution that was really ~112mg/dL and in that case the readings are close to accurate and we all may just have organ and nervous system damage from vaccines, nitrates/nitrites, or radioactive cesium from Fukishima.

Next day at lunch: With a new bottle of strips (strips in each bottle are supposed to be very similar in their readings) when I test the control solution (~80mg/dL) I get 145, 128, 122, and 117.  Then I test my blood sugar: 103 and 109.

If we throw out the low and high value, the average for the control solution is reading 125 with this bottle of strips, and if the actual concentration of the solution is 80, then my reading average of 106 puts me at 61. I don’t feel light headed, however, so I don’t believe that.

I was told by the company that distributes the control solution that it is made to be very stable and the concentration does not change and that it is indeed about 80mg/dL as it says on the package, not about 90mg/dL. So if the control solution was, say 85 mg/dL, then my 106 reading before lunch is in reality about 66mg/dL. As 70 is the low side of normal, so this could be about right.

If you are struggling with “pre-diabetes” I’d seriously ask if you really are. Get the control solution and test the first few strips of every new bottle. It may seem like a waste of money for the strips… until you realize that your lying meter may be leading you down a crazy trail of expensive supplements and so on.

The company’s response so far is that you can’t just adjust your blood reading based on the difference between the control solution’s reading and the control solution’s concentration, but they haven’t been able to explain why. Physically, chemically, why??? “Because the reading would be inaccurate.” Why would it be inaccurate? “Because they are different tests.” No, the test type is the same, it is a glucose oxidase reaction, only the adjustment factor for the range is different. This still does not explain why my actual blood sugar reading is not 30 points lower than the meter is reporting. The company confirms that nothing in the “other” ingredients raises the glucose reading above 80mg/dL.

I do understand that your hematocrit, (HCT or Ht), the volume that red blood cells take up in your blood, can vary and this has an influence on your readings, more so with some glucose measurement methods than others. (link) A normal HCT is 45% (40.7 to 50.3) for men and 40% (36.1 to 44.3) for women. This is the percentage of packed red blood cells and conditions including leukemia, malnutrition, water intoxication, bleeding and higher altitudes can lower your Ht. With fewer blood cells, your readings can be falsely high (link). With too few red blood cells, you will have anemia, a shortage of hemoglobin protein which is on your red blood cells. Here are some tips from the FDA:

Problem Results Recommendation
Test strip not fully inserted into meter false low always be sure test strip is fully inserted in meter
Patient sample site (for example, the fingertip) is contaminated with sugar false high always clean and dry test site before sampling
Not enough blood applied to strip false low repeat test with a new sample
Batteries low on power error codes change batteries and repeat sample collection
Test strips/Control solutions stored at temperature extremes false high/low store kit and components according to directions
Patient is dehydrated false high stat venous sample on main lab analyzer
Patient in shock false low stat venous sample on main lab analyzer
Squeezing fingertip too hard because blood is not flowing false low repeat test with a new sample from a new stick
Sites other than fingertips high/low results from alternative sites may not match finger stick results
Test strip/Control solution vial cracked false high/low always inspect package for cracks, leaks, etc.
Anemia/decrease hematocrit false high venous sample on main lab analyzer
Polycythemia/increased hematocrit false low venous sample on main lab analyzer

If dehydration raises hematocrit (link) and gives a false high reading, why does a lower hematocrit (fewer blood cells) also give a false high glucose reading?

I’m lucky to have a nice seven year record of my HCT at least once per year since 2009. Nothing too unusual, but it does change a bit within the normal range. As of my last test on 1/26/15 I was 44.4%. On 6/24/14 was 43.2% and 9/14/14 was 45.8%, in other words, pretty darn normal.

hematocrit

Based on experiments, one group strongly recommended,

“that clinical professionals choose glucose systems carefully and interpret glucose measurements with extreme caution when the patient’s hematocrit value changes, particularly if there is a simultaneous change in glucose level.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10923072

Fine, but that’s not my issue. Another person on Amazon reported something similar, “… I called the company directly and they sent the control solution with instructions. The solution has 80 mg/ml. The meter read 130, 141, 129!!!”

So, that person’s bottle of strips was pretty consistently 50-60 points high. If they have a normal hematocrit and get a reading of 130, doesn’t that mean the person’s real blood glucose number is between 70 and 80? What am I missing here?

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2015 by in Biology, Health, Radiation, Strange, Technology.
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