If you’ve ever taken your blood sugar twice or three times in a row without any delay in between tests, you’ve probably noticed that you don’t get the same exact number each time. You aren’t alone if this has happened to you. I’ve had more than one client have this very experience. The variant readings don’t mean your meter isn’t operating correctly. It does, however, reflect the variance that is built into each meter. Home glucose meters are considered clinically up to federal standards if the results are within 20% of what a lab test would indicate. So you could get three totally different readings and as long as they are within 20% of each other, any one of the results would still be considered clinically acceptable. If however, you get a variance greater than 20%, it’s time to check your meter or the test strips.

Each year the technology behind glucose meters improves and we have much more accurate meters today that we did even ten years ago.

Another observation some clients have made is seeing different readings when they get samples from different places on their bodies. Your blood sugar isn’t constant throughout your whole body. The reading in say, your thigh, could be different from the reading in your finger even if taken at the same time. So is one place better than another to use for testing? No, when you take a sample of your blood, remember you are just taking a sample. A sample is just a sample. No one sample is necessarily better than another.

If we are honest here, most of the time a person would think to take multiple samples is because they are frustrated with the results they saw the first time. Now to be fair, it is possible to have a legitimate reason to doubt the accuracy of one reading. Valid reasons would be things like getting too small of a sample for the test, forgetting to wash your hands or discovering you have an outdated test strip. But sometimes the temptation to retest is only because you were disappointed or shocked at the reading you did get. So you may want to retest, hoping to get a “better” reading.

So, it’s important to be honest here. If you are retesting just because you don’t like what you see, you should probably consider the possibility you are in denial about your situation. That’s okay. Denial is a natural response, a stage of dealing with “bad news,” such as the bad news that you have high blood sugar or the bad news of that scoop of ice cream was probably a bad idea. But if you can recognize denial when you are experiencing it, you can work through it rather than getting stuck there.