This month’s DSMA Blog Carnival is all about test strip accuracy and why it is important to me. The issue of test strip accuracy has recently made a resurgence in the DOC (not that it ever really went away), most notably in the form of Strip Safely, a grassroots advocacy group dedicated to pushing the FDA to require more stringent accuracy parameters for test strips.
To be honest, the fact we’re even having this discussion is kind of disgusting. It boggles the mind (which oddly gives me the mental image of those bobblehead dolls, but I digress…). The FDA, bless their hearts, have gone above and beyond the call of duty in keeping the Medtronic Minimed Veo out of the hands of American citizens because they think it might cause some issues with blood sugars, DKA and whathaveyou. They are afraid that if you have your insulin suspended for two hours and you’re not really low, you’ll have problems. The reason why you might not be low when the Medtronic CGM tells you it’s low is because of accuracy issues. So they know accuracy issues are a problem, but they don’t seem terribly interested in enforcing anything to make the situation better.
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: accuracy doesn’t just affect people who use CGMs. Accuracy affects everyone. It affects how much insulin you take. When the FDA says that being 20% off is okay, what they’re saying is that there is no difference between a 160 mg/dl and a 128 mg/dl or a 192 mg/dl. What they’re saying is there is no difference between a 300 mg/dl and a 240 mg/dl or a 360 mg/dl. Oh yes there is! In fact, there is an even greater chance of blood sugar issues, DKA and whathaveyou with test strip inaccuracy than you would have with the Veo.
This is not new news to anyone. We were talking about test strip accuracy at the very first Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit in… God, I don’t even know when it was, it was so long ago… ::looks it up::… 2009! For five years (and likely longer than that), we have been advocating for better test strips because it is guaranteed to make our lives with diabetes easier to manage. It won’t solve all the world’s problems, but it might make a few things better.
They say it costs too much money for test strips to be more accurate. We’d have to pay more than the boatload of money we already shell out. Do you know what costs more than test strips?
Congestive heart failure.
Death. Death definitely costs more than test strips.
Why is test strip accuracy so important to me and my fellow brothers-and-sisters in diabetes? Because there are a multitude of experiences that we would like to have, and kidney dialysis, congestive heart failure and death are not on the list.