What is the difference between Glucometer and Lab Test Results?

Regular health testing and keeping all the health levels under a healthy margin is very important for one’s body. This becomes more necessary in the case of Diabetic individuals.

With diabetes, the body becomes more prone to developing issues that can result in severe health complications over time. Discipline and commitment are major necessities to keep your blood sugar levels under controlled margins and within healthy limits.

In addition to adopting healthy dietary routines and exercise schedules that help your body, it is also important to resort to regular testing. As diabetic patients, blood glucose testing becomes an inescapable part of your everyday lives.

There are various testing ways and methods that you can find and select as per your needs. Glucometer tests and lab blood sugar tests are the two commonly used ways of testing your blood sugar levels to determine how your diabetic bodies function.

Today, let us go through several details of glucometer and lab blood glucose tests.

We will learn …

Veggie causing Diabetes
  • What is the difference between glucometer and lab test?
  • What is normal blood sugar by age?
  • Can you get different blood sugar readings from different fingers?
  • How often should you replace your glucose meter?

And many more such related discussions.

These are important topics to discuss and know about as a diabetic patient. These are the ways to keep diabetes under control and to take measures of care accordingly.

So let us get started with answering these curious questions.

What is the difference between glucometer and lab test?

What is the difference between glucometer and lab test

It is often observed that glucometer tests and lab tests for blood glucose levels are different. They might vary highly or just minimally.

The primary difference between lab tests and glucometer readings is that the values determined by lab tests are more accurate and represent your actual blood glucose levels efficiently. On the other hand, using glucose meters to measure diabetic levels is useful but comparatively less accurate.

The reasons behind these differences are affected by many factors.

When it comes to blood glucose testing using a glucose meter, the results are immediate. Lab tests, on the other hand, take more time and aren’t that quick.

Glucometers use a small amount of blood from the finger upon being pricked. This is directly taken from the blood flow and taken on the lancet of the glucose-measuring device.

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Lab tests take blood samples from the vein. This gives a more accurate reading as the blood collected is also judged based on the blood glucose in the plasma.

Thus, the two ways administer and measure blood taken from different sources and containing different elements. Hence, the results also vary in minor margins.

Lab tests, which we learned just now, make readings of the blood glucose from the plasma. These results are unaffected by the number of red blood cells, whereas it is not so in blood drawn from the finger capillaries.

However, these differences in glucometer and lab test readings are minor and may not be variedly distinct. They won’t in any way affect your overall health. Both readings can be used as information to record your diabetic health status.

Glucometers are preferred for their immediacy and ease of usage at home by everyone. Lab tests may be hectic and not very immediate. You can resort to what choice suits your preferences and needs.

What is normal blood sugar by age?

What is normal blood sugar by age

Blood sugar disturbances, that is, the higher or lower quantities of glucose in the blood than normal, lead to diabetes. The underlying factors may be insufficient insulin production in the body, the ineffective response of the body to the insulin produced, diet and food habits, genetic factors, and so on.

There is a normal range of blood sugar for all, and the levels must be within this margin to ensure that the health is out of risk. Normal blood sugar levels vary with age and developing issues in the body with time.

It is crucial to understand the different levels of normal blood sugar according to your health and body status to manage diabetes. Let us have a look at the different normal blood sugar margins by age.

The below tables classify and indicate the normal blood glucose ranges in children and adults in various combinations.

  1. In kids aged below 6 years
Sl. No.Time and meal type Normal blood sugar range
1.Fasting80 to 180 mg/dL
2.Before meal100 to 180 mg/dL
3.1 – 2 hours after a mealWithin 180 mg/dL
4.Bedtime110 – 200 mg/dL
  1. Kids aged from 6 to 12 years
Sl. No.Time and meal type Normal blood sugar range
1.Fasting80 to 180 mg/dL
2.Before meal90 to 180 mg/dL
3.1 – 2 hours after a mealUp to 140 mg/dL
4.Bedtime100 to 180 mg/dL
  1. Teens from 13 to 19 years of age
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Sl. No.Time and meal type Normal blood sugar range
1.Fasting70 to 150 mg/dL
2.Before meal90 to 130 mg/dL
3.1 – 2 hours after a mealUp to 140 mg/dL
4.Bedtime90 to 150 mg/dL
  1. Adults over 20 years of age
Sl. No.Time and meal type Normal blood sugar range
1.FastingBelow 100 mg/dL
2.Before meal70 to 130 mg/dL
3.1 – 2 hours after a mealLower than 180 mg/dL
4.Bedtime100 to 140 mg/dL

These are the minimum and maximum limits of blood sugars under which the body is kept safe and without any major symptoms.

The readings and values of glucometers often alarm you about very high and or abnormally low blood sugar levels.

But what happens if the blood sugar levels go abnormally high or low? Let us find out.

What are the symptoms of abnormal blood sugar levels?

What are the symptoms of abnormal blood sugar levels

Both very low and very high blood sugars can give rise to symptoms in the body that can be harmful. It is therefore important to control the sugar levels and keep testing from time to time.

Readings over 200mg/dL are said to be alarming rises in blood sugars. If the blood glucose rises over 250 mg/dL, it may have very risky effects.

Some of the commonly observed symptoms of high blood sugar levels, also called – hyperglycemia, are:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Sugars levels as low as 50 mg/dL can also have similarly dangerous effects on the health. This is called hypoglycemia and can be very risky for any individual.

It has the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness and trembling
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chills
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Chances of going unconscious
  • Tingling or numbing sensations
  • Pale appearance

This is why one must pay extra attention to the body’s blood sugar levels from time to time. Diabetes is a disorder that has to be constantly kept under record and checks for proper maintenance of the body levels. These changes can also impact other levels in the body, such as blood pressures and heart health.

Can you get different blood sugar readings from different fingers?

Well, this is a very interesting question to know about. Every small detail and factor can affect your blood sugar levels and be caught up in your machines and represented in the test.

However, this is not the case with using different fingers for testing. Testing on different fingers does not give rise to different blood glucose levels. The readings are not affected in any way.

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Unless and until the state of your fingers is equal, meaning – considering factors like cleanliness, pressure on the finger while testing, etc., you would not see any difference in the readings.

It is often advised to use different fingers when testing using a home glucose monitoring device. The reason behind this is that pricking the same finger over and over can lead to pain and soreness.

Make sure that you do not apply any pressure while taking the blood samples.

Also, ensure that your hands and fingertips are clean before you test for blood sugar. If you have any food or residue on your fingertips, then the glucometer may take up those readings and show an unauthentic value. This is to be avoided by cleaning your hands well before you test.

Also, it is recommended to take blood samples by pricking the top head of your fingertips and not the pads of the fingertip. The pads may hurt more because we use them more, whereas the tips are less vulnerable to soreness.

Ensure that you follow all instructions to ensure a safe and efficient glucose value on testing at home.

How often should you replace your glucometer?

How often should you replace your glucometer

On a general basis, glucose meters can be replaced within two to three years of use. This is a tentative timeline and may differ from use as well as quality and maintenance status.

Your machine can be as long as 5 years old and still be accurate. There are a lot of brands that are sustainable and can keep a glucometer going strong for years.

Many brands have long-lasting battery lives and can be recharged easily and reused.

However, on a general basis, to ensure the accuracy of your machines, it is best to change your glucometers every 2 – 3 years. This assures accuracy of readings, and you can also keep up with better and advanced products in the market.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/312704000905
  2. https://emj.bmj.com/content/22/3/177.short
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685638/
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0009898105000768
  5. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2008.0148.x
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002937897700267
  7. https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ijgo.12399
  8. https://academic.oup.com/clinchem/article/44/4/893/5642602?login=true
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4149118/

 

Dr Sharon Baisil MD
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