January 4, 2009

Meter Madness: Free Ultra Mini Meter Offer

I've been comparing my Ultras to the Aviva for several days and am seeing some very troubling high readings on the Accu-chek when my Ultras read in my target range. This reminds me of why I switched from an ultra to an Aviva three years ago.

Sometimes the Ultras and the Aviva match, sometimes the Aviva can read as much as 35 mg/dl higher on the same blood stick while the two Ultras (one an Ultra 2 and one a plain old Ultra) match within plus or minus 5 mg/dl.

When the Ultras give me a fasting blood sugar reading of 85 mg/dl and 90 mg/dl respectively when the Aviva says 118 mg/dl, I have to wonder about the Aviva. Especially when the next morning the Aviva reads LOWER than the Ultras the first time I test and matches exactly the second time. My first Aviva three years ago read almost 40 mg/dl higher than a lab draw taken a minute before.

Because several of the CGMS companies now use Ultra meters to calibrate their CGMSes I suspect that the Ultra is more accurate.

But both my Ultras are a couple years old and meters can degrade as they get older, so I don't want to draw any final conclusions until I compare the Aviva to a new Ultra. I found an offer for a free Ultra Mini on the LifeScan site and applied for one. If they send it to me, I'll compare the new mini to the Aviva.

If you would like a free Ultra mini, here is the link:

LifeScan Diabetes Meter Offer

The Ultra comes with 10 strips. Unfortunately the strips for both meters are extremely expensive without insurance coverage, so beyond the free strips, these offers are not good options for someone without insurance. Wal-Mart Relion meters use much cheaper strips.

If you have taken up the Aviva offer to see if you have diabetes treat the result as being a ballpark figure. Anything in the 200 plus or minus 20 mg/dl range probably does point to diabetes but at the lower range--85-120 mg/dl the result may be plus or minus 30 mg/dl or worse. Test a couple times. The number of strips that come with the free Aviva make that possible.

Don't waste strips on the control solution test. When my meters were reading 40% different from each other, they both checked out fine with control solution tests.

UPDATE: The Ultra Mini appears to be a repackaging of the old Ultra, but it's faster, which is a huge plus, as you aren't as liable to test before the meter is ready and waste a strip. It matches well with my old Ultras.

It doesn't keep detailed records of your past readings and break them out by post meal and fasting, which the Ultra 2 or Ultrasmart will do.

I like mine, especially for purse carry. Small and fast.


Anne said...

Again, thanks for letting us know about this offer. Luckily, my insurance pays for my strips.

It is frustrating that these meters are not more consistent. I had one meter that was consistently 40 points higher than the other. I was happy that the lower reading glucometer agreed with the lab test at my doctor's office.

Brenda Bell said...

I've looked at the Aviva, UltraMini, Ultra2, and UltraSmart over this past year. The OneTouch meters all came with 10 strips, as did the Aviva; plus there was a separate 50-strip vial that came with the Aviva. Over approximately 40 tests on each meter, in a range from mid 80's through about 150 (forced highs), no meter was more, or less, accurate than the others. The raw data are not consistent in which meter will measure lower, or higher, for any given test set under similar conditions.

Lili said...

I always check my meters (Ultrasmart) against lab tests, and in three years, they've all been within 3 points of the lab value. So, I'd say I'm pretty happy using them.

Ian Mackereth said...

You can tell how much the meter companies are making on the test strips by their willingness to give away the meters, can't you?

Sort of like $20 inkjet printer/scanners that cost $80+ for a set of ink cartridges!

I'm jealous of all these offers that aren't valid here in Australia, but then I'm comforted by the fact that the Government subsidises test strips so they cost me 6c each.

Still, I'm missing out on neat new toys, damnit! 8-)}

Kat said...

I'm not sure this offer is still good. I went to it and when it was done, they offered me a case for my current meter. lol