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[IP] inaccuracy of arm testing

peggy asked:
> I am surprised that all "intensive therapy" folks (testing 8 -12 times 
> aday) haven't switched to the meters that allow you to test on 
> your arm. Why not? 

What you are testing when you poke a hole in your arm is NOT all blood.  It 
is red and probably tastes the same (oh, admit it, you lick it off, too), it 
is actually partly interstitial fluid - the liquid stuff that kinda floats 
around between your cells...you know when they say your body is 80% 
water...well that is some of that interstitial fluid.  What you get out of 
your fingers is likely to be more blood, capillary blood, in fact, not venous 
or arterial blood, and MUCH more likely to be fairly representative of what 
is ACTUALLY going on in your blood at the time of your test..

Secondly, "they" recommend you not use your arm for testing unless your blood 
sugars are stable (or some other official sounding word - i don't have the 
paper in front of me), ie not after a meal, or near a peak of insulin or near 
the height of your dawn phenomena, or during, before or after exercise, or 
when your site might be going bad, or when you are PMSing, or stressing out 
about the stock market, or when the moon is full on the 7th...so when EXACTLY 
is this 4 minute window when your blood sugar is NOT going one way or the 
other?  hmmmmm???  and how do you KNOW it is stable?  oh SURE...some of us 
(even some of us intensive testers) claim we can go by how we feel...hell, 
some of us (not me) even DRIVE without testing their blood sugar, cuz they 
FEEL ok...but that is a separate discussion.  

The fact is, we may think we have our selves fairly well pinned down but that 
is usually when this disease decides to smack you in the face to remind you 
that you are human.  Just because for 9 weeks you haven't had a blood sugar 
over 142 so you "know you are stable" doesn't mean you won't tomorrow, so why 
add in the extra variable of interstitial fluid?

Thirdly, the meter companies and the government, and US, by default, ACCEPT 
something like a 20% variance in readings as ACCEPTABLE.  For example, if you 
get a reading of 125, that could REALLY be anywhere from 100 - 150....not 
such a huge problem, but a reading of 200 could really be 160 - 240!!  I 
would treat a 240 significantly different than I would treat a 160.  Just 
something to remember when you are flag waving for the accuracy of your 
meter....Instead of making new and fancier machines to SELL US, why can't 
they all focus on getting ONE accurate meter?  now THAT would be a good 
investment...every diabetic in the world would FLOCK to the company who can 
guarantee a less than 5% accepted variance in their meter...

Lastly, to those who prefer arm testing - and think it is less painful...walk 
a mile in someone's shoes who does find it much more painful, and on whose 
arms that b**tard of a guillotine leaves black and blue bullseye marks no 
matter the setting (guess I just have delicate skin....) and you might think 
differently.  I might remind those who find finger testing to be painful that 
the sides of the finger are significantly less nerve-ending loaded than the 
pads, and it never ceases to amaze me the number of co-diabetics I see at 
meetings and such who poke their fingers right in the center of the finger! 

Just so you know I AM speaking from experience.  I used the arm testing 
meter...and decided the pain, the concern over the stability of my bg, and 
the unappealing bruises was not worth it to me....I gave up pain and bruises 
when the circle jerks and sex pistols stopped doing live shows....and I trust 
my dinosaur Profile to give me consistent results.  personally, I LIKE the 
stone age....YMMV

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