No strips and expired strips!

As a T1D I know how important it is to have blood glucose strips which aren’t out of date, an expired strip could potentially give me the wrong blood glucose reading. Let’s face it that number that appears on the meter is so important, because as a diabetic I live by the numbers which appear on my meter. It allows me to confirm whether I have a low, high or a good blood glucose level (4-7 mmol/l).  Depending on what the outcome may be I can then act by either treating my low, high or just do nothing but record my level. Knowing my BGL’s are of great importance and it is just as significant as my insulin. My insulin and test strips are pivotal to me being able to manage my diabetes to the best standard possible. Unfortunately I can’t say that I’ve always had an abundant number of strips available or never been faced with expired test strips. I’d be lying if I said that has never happened to me.

That night I realised I used expired blood glucose strips……………..

I was woken one night because I just didn’t feel right. I felt as if my sugar was high. I reached for my blood glucose meter and realised I’d run out of strips. Actually I knew I didn’t have that many strips available the night before and had used the last one before bed. Therefore I checked in my usual back up strip storage places and couldn’t find a thing. My next move is always to go to my other blood glucose meters (x1) and see if there might be any strips in there. Yup I found nothing! So I decided to dig out some old meters (how I did this half asleep I do not know). By the way I have one really ancient meter with no battery and the other was the same as my (One touch Ultra Easy).

I opened up the case for the meter and (bling) I’ve never been so happy to see blood glucose strips and a full tub of 25 strips.  Without even looking at the expiry date I grabbed a strip, pricked my finger and tested my BGL.

HIGH

“WHATTTTTTTTTTTTTT?” OK I felt that way so at least I’m able to recognise my high symptoms.

I don’t know about any of the other T1D’s but the very few times I’ve had a reading that just says high or low on my meter, I totally freak out and want to correct it right then and there! I corrected it with a bolus and then I gave it 30 minutes to see if it would come down. I drank some water because strangely enough that seems to help too. Anyway finger prick number two, I expected the reading to be lower. My meter then produces another reading of

HIGH

“WHAT!! WHY HASN’T IT COME DOWN?”

I actually started to feel a lot better but then silly me instead of trusting how I was feeling.  I then corrected again! I waited another 30 minutes and at this point I started to feel a little low. It just made no sense. I then decided I’d go and wake my husband up who was actually already on his way to me.  I got him to test his BGL which read

HIGH

Side note: My husband isn’t a diabetic so really his BGL should have been within the norm.

I quickly checked the expiry date on the tub and saw that it was out of date by a year {{shock horror}} so all my readings had been incorrect to start with. I couldn’t do anything but at this point I felt as if my BGL was extremely low so I treated it slightly and waited until I felt OK. It was already morning I stayed awake and went to pick up my prescription as soon as the pharmacy opened.

My advice to all the diabetics who use test strips. Please make sure you have sufficient strips and strips which aren’t expired. This experience was extremely scary for me and an experience I’d rather not find myself in again. Having strips and strips that aren’t out of date is so crucial!

Has anyone else ever found themselves without strips or used expired strips without initially knowing? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Thanks Amina  xx

3 thoughts on “No strips and expired strips!

  1. I usually check my sugar level twice daily by using onetouch ultra easy glucometer. So I need more than 50 test strips a month. I usually buy test strips online from clickoncare.com. Every time they are providing the new test strips which is having an expiry date of a year or more. I am very happy with their service.

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  2. Bob K.

    I’m not diabetic, but I monitor blood glucose for other reasons. I should point out that I’m extremely resistant to diabetes (ie, very insulin sensitive). For bodybuilding, you want to consume a large quantity of protein after working out and a large quantity of glucose. This triggers a big insulin response and the insulin + protein = muscle growth (vs fat growth if you are sedentary). After working out today, I consumed 50 grams of protein and 60 grams of glucose. After 30 minutes, I tested my blood glucose using strips that were about 6 months expired, and it was 96. Ok, my glucose doesn’t jump a LOT, but this was a bit obscene. I then consume another 60g of glucose and wait 30 minutes and it is 88. WTH??? So then I consume another 30g glucose and it is 97 after 30 minutes (and an hour and a half after the initial 60g). At this point, I’m just chalking it up to the expired strips, because this doesn’t seem humanly possible. In general, I see my glucose peak around 160 30 minutes after consuming 60g glucose, and then it quickly comes back down to the 90s by 60-90 minutes, which I think is very good, but to stay below 100 after 150g of glucose? No way.

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    1. WOW! It’s really interesting to see how glucose can affect you. Obviously I’d have the reverse reaction to that much glucose. However I’ve noticed that when I work out I generally need a lot less insulin (I become very insulin sensitive too) and in return I need more carbs/proteins and glucose. In those situations (working out) my blood glucose tends to even out and remain at a good level. Your strips were definitely too out of date hence your fluctuating blood glucose readings. It’s really important to check that the strips aren’t out of date if you want to get a clearer picture on what your body is doing and when. Thanks for sharing this with me 🙂

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