# Blood Glucose Measurement

Why is the U.S.A the only country in the world to use the decimal system (mg/dl) for measuring blood glucose? I know it’s a simple conversion by dividing the decimal value by 18 to get the metric value But why? Why not one universal measurement?

Based on what I’ve been reading on this and other diabetes social communities, I would suggest that the US is not the only country that measures blood glucose by weight (mg/dl) rather than count (mmol/l). Both measurements are decimal/metric.

As far as US adoption of “the metric system” in general: there have been a number of attempts to get the US onto various sorts of decimal systems – the first, proposed by Thomas Jefferson. Its association with the French “Reign of Terror” made the change politically untenable at that time…
There was a congressional initiative to make the US completely metric by 1970, but resistance from the older generations, and the belief that changing to a metric system would cause our manufacturing industry to migrate abroad, slowed down the conversion. Nevertheless, most of my mid- to late-1970’s secondary and postsecondary science and engineering syllabi were presented in SI, rather than English, units.

It is my understanding that most US secondary school students studying an academic curriculum are introduced to SI units, and – like me – are more comfortable with SI than English measurements in the realms of physical sciences and engineering. I’d say that most people under 50 who have had an academic high school curriculum and university studies in physical sciences or engineering are equally comfortable with both SI and English units for length, weight/mass, and temperature – or can translate between the two reasonably quickly.

As far as weight versus count, I believe that as more and more international diabetes social networks develop, we will all become more comfortable using both systems of blood glucose measurement.

Unit of Measure Reference Table
It is important to know which Unit of Measure the country in which you live has adopted — millimoles per litre (mmol/L), which is used in Australia, or milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), which is used in some other countries. For your convenience, please refer to the reference table listed below to compare your meter settings with the typical Unit of Measure used in the countries noted.

Country (A-L)
Unit of Measure

Algeria
mg/dL

Argentina
mg/dL

Australia
mmol/L

Austria
mg/dL

Bahrain
mg/dL

mg/dL

Belgium
mg/dL

Brazil
mg/dL

mmol/L

Caribbean Countries
mg/dL

Chile
mg/dL

China
mmol/L

Columbia
mg/dL

Czech Republic
mmol/L

Denmark
mmol/L

mg/dL

Egypt
mg/dL

Finland
mmol/L

France
mg/dL

Georgia
mg/dL

Germany
mg/dL, mmol/L

Greece
mg/dL

Hong Kong
mmol/L

India
mg/dL

Indonesia
mg/dL

Ireland
mmol/L

Israel
mg/dL

Italy
mg/dL

Japan
mg/dL

Jordan
mg/dL

Kazakhstan
mmol/L

Korea
mg/dL

Kuwait
mg/dL

Lebanon
mg/dL

Luxembourg
mg/dL

Country (M-Z)
Unit of Measure

Malaysia
mmol/L

Malta
mmol/L

Mexico
mg/dL

Netherlands
mmol/L

New Zealand
mmol/L

Norway
mmol/L

Oman
mg/dL

Peru
mg/dL

Philippines
mg/dL

Poland
mg/dL

Portugal
mg/dL

Qatar
mg/dL

Russia
mmol/L

Saudi Arabia
mg/dL

Singapore
mmol/L

Slovakia
mmol/L

Slovenia
mmol/L

South Africa
mmol/L

Spain
mg/dL

Sub-Saharan Africa
mg/dL, mmol/L

Sweden
mmol/L

Switzerland
mmol/L

Syria
mg/dL

Taiwan
mg/dL

Thailand
mg/dL

Tunisia
mg/dL

Turkey
mg/dL

Ukraine
mmol/L

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
mg/dL

United Kingdom
mmol/L

United States
mg/dL

Uruguay
mg/dL

Venezuela
mg/dL

Vietnam
mmol/L

Yemen
mg/dL

Wow! Thanks for posting the entire list for us!