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From Indiana, USA:

My daughter is 11 years old and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes about four years ago. She has been using a glucose meter that uses whole blood. Her pediatric endocrinologist's lab, however, uses plasma serum. When given test results I assume it is based on plasma serum results not her glucometer's results. Are we not mixing apples and oranges when we operate like this? Should we use a glucometer that uses plasma serum instead of whole blood? When I give her blood sugar levels every two weeks, no one has ever asked what type of monitor she uses.

Any advice on whether to switch? We do a lot of testing and I believe she would find it easier to not to have to calculate what the lab would be. I really just found this out when we had our current blood test done. Our previous doctor just gave us the meter and told to be between 100-150 prior to meals, our new doctor doesn't care as long as her A1C is under 8.0.


Speak to your doctor about how to interpret the blood sugars. There are many good meters on the market, and some are calibrated to plasma while others to whole blood. You can still check how your meter is working with either type, just adjust the value if it is a meter calibrated to whole blood.

As far as goals for blood sugars and hemoglobin A1c values, please seek individual advice. However, in general the goal would be to keep the blood sugars as close the normal range as is safe and possible given your individual circumstances (not in a young child, for example). Even in the DCCT, these highly-motivated individuals could not keep their blood sugars "normal" all the time.

Make sure you have realistic goals, but keep on trying to do your best.


Original posting 8 May 1999
Posted to Blood Tests and Insulin Injections


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