In order to monitor blood sugar levels, many diabetics use portable meters. When the meters show high levels, diabetics know they need to take insulin. However, Dr. Mimalie Perera, of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, and colleagues found that some meters are inaccurate by a margin of nearly 16 percent.
The researchers took blood sugar readings of 102 women with gestational diabetes using six different finger-prick blood glucose meters, and then compared those readings to results from laboratory plasma glucose tests, a more accurate method of reading blood sugar levels. They found that the most accurate meter (Stat-Strip®) was off from lab results by 6.1 percent, and the least accurate meter (Optium Xceed™) was off by 15.8 percent.
Diabetes that develops in pregnant women is known as gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes, which affects approximately 135,000 pregnant women each year in the United States, develops as a result of hormones produced for the healthy development of the baby. These hormones can cause insulin resistance in pregnant women, which in turn causes glucose build-up in the blood. High blood glucose levels are a primary cause of diabetes complications.
The study's authors conclude that these inaccuracies must be recognized in order to avoid improper treatment of gestational diabetes. The study is published in Diabetes Care, the journal of the American Diabetes Association.