Why am I high?

Just finished reading a GREAT article in Diabetes Health that shared the experience of someone testing after washing her hands with soap and water vs. after handling a number of foods.

Here’s a little excerpt. Do you have any comparable experiences?

"When Young washed her hands with soap and water and then tested, the meter read 80 mg/dl. When she had lotion on her hands, the meter read 87 mg/dl. After she handled the following foods, the meter readings were all over the map:

  • Milk: 92 mg/dl
  • Raspberries: 92 mg/dl
  • Peanut butter: 94 mg/dl
  • Red peppers: 117 mg/dl
  • Sweet wine: 122 mg/dl
  • Grapes: 447 mg/dl
  • Grapes, followed by wiping (but not washing) hands: 132 mg/dl"

Wow! I had heard about this… and must admit that I don’t always wash my hands before testing, but I always use the second drop of blood. I think that I read the suggestion in Cheating Diabetes by James Hirsch that you can get a more accurate reading by wiping off the first drop and using the second one…

But maybe I should just wash my hands :slight_smile:

Good idea. I admit I don’t wash my hands before testing either. :\

I’ve had this happen to me several times, no now when I have a high reading I will wash up and test from a differentfinger before I respond to the results.

One time after I had a piece of string cheese and didn’t wash my hands, my BG was over 200! It is never REALLY over 200 (knock on wood)!

I’ll also use the second drop of blood if I can squeeze that much out. I’ll also lick my finger clean, although I admit I have no idea how effective that is. I’ll go out on a limb and guess it’s not super sanitary either. All that being said, I usually have some general sense of where I’m at (the CGM helps a ton with that too), so if I get a reading that seems off, I’ll check again on a different finger that I think is clean.

Let’s see…
According to the my coworker who is an endocrinologist- there is normal variability in personal meters. We all assume that a reading of 100 is 100 exactly but apparently there is up to 20 points + or - for each reading. Meaning the actual reading may be as low as 80 or as high as 120. It doesn’t have to be that high or low, but that range of variability is common for all meters. So I suspect that has alot to do with it. Technology isn’t perfect.

That said, out meters are also incredibly sensitive and handling sugary things or things that may have a sugar in them will throw off the readings.

I was at a bus station and playing with this little girl. I felt low so I tested and was at 65 so I had some glucagon gel, I tested 15 min later to see if I was higher and my reading was so high it woudn’t register on the meter. I was like what the hell. Then I realized she had one of those baby bottle pops which is powdered sugar and she kept handing it to me. I went and washed my hands and retested and I was in the 80’s. No way I could have went from the 60’s to over 500 in 15 min from 15 grams of carbs.

Ya, if I check and I’m 80 or even 90, but I still feel low, I’ll treat it 'cause I just figure I got a higher reading than my BG actually is. Those symptoms don’t lie.

I was having a low once and was eating some chocolate to treat my low blood sugar. I was trying to test my blood sugar and I had some chocolate on the finger I pricked. I was still pretty shakey and the reading on my meter showed 386. I knew that wasn’t right. After I washed My hands it measured 53. It wasn’t even a very noticeable amount. It was a little saliva mixed with chocolate as I was trying to frantically eat…lol. Always try and make sure your hands are clean. Your meter doesn’t know the difference.

This has happened to me before! lol, I ate about 20 carbs tested my bg’s and it read 200. I remembered I touched something sweet, went to wash my hands and my bg was only 130. hahaha

Thanks for sharing that Manny!! Great article.

Thanks for the article. I always wash my hands, but just learned about not using the first drop of blood. No one ever mentioned this to me until I brought my meters to be tested against a lab test. The tech saw me testing & said–no, no, wipe away the first drop of blood it contains skin tissue that effect your reading. Ok, so I don’t always remember to do this, but I’m trying to.

yesterday, my dad (age 90 & type 2) called me to say his blood sugar was over 300 before dinner, and what should he do? I remembered this discussion, and asked him to wash his hands and retest. Result: 152. So wash your hands!

Like Gerri said, I too just learned about not using the first drop of blood. Nel Peach has said this in different threads…she was right. I have tested with the first drop and compared to wiping away and using second drop, and it is always lower. Even after washing my hands.
I carry hand sanitizer in my purse and will never test unless I use it, if unable to wash.

Different “scented” hand soaps will give a higher reading as well.

does hand sanitzer work just as good as washing your hands?

Washing your hands & drying them well is better.

Sorry, but my educator told me that hand sanitizer will affect the testing as well!

The best thing is just washing the hands. If you are welling to do it! Am not!! :o)

I have used it and then tested and then washed my hands to see the difference and it was the same?
I will use a alcohol wipe it I am out and can not wash prior to testing.

Who really does? I think not washing hands before testing and reusing needles/finger sticks is something that all long time diabetics do.

But this is really interesting information. I have never heard of this before but it makes sense.

I guess we should all wash our hands when possible.