3 Ways You Could Be Skewing Your Blood Glucose Readings

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Measuring blood sugar with a glucometer is a piece of cake, right? 🎂 Not so fast! You might not know it, but there are many ways you could be skewing that #bgnow number. Here are the top three ways you could be throwing off your blood glucose (BG) readings — and what you can do to avoid it.

Cleanliness is King

Mother knows best — it’s important to wash and dry your hands. If your hands are clean and dry, you can be sure that you’re getting a more accurate BG reading from your meter. But it’s not just mom — science backs this up too. In a controlled research study, people who handled fruits (like bananas and apples) and then checked their blood sugar without washing their hands had statistically significantly higher readings. For instance, the study participants had an average fasting blood glucose reading of 77 mg/dl (4.2 mmol/L). After just handling an apple, their average blood glucose jumped to 274 mg/dl (15.2 mmol/L) when they checked without washing their hands. BUT, when those same people did wash their hands before they measured their blood glucose level, they had normal, accurate readings (1).

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So make sure that you wash your hands, especially after you eat or handle food! But what if you can’t wash your hands? What can you do? Using hand sanitizer, plain water, lotion, or wiping off your hands won’t do the trick — your blood will still be contaminated by the substances on your hands and you won’t get an accurate reading. In that case, wiping off the first drop of blood from your finger and then using the second drop of blood to measure your sugar should have you in good shape (2).

Everything in its right place

Taking good care of your test strips will keep your meter from showing errors and ensure that you’re getting an accurate reading. Who among us hasn’t forgotten their test strips in the car on a cold winter day, or used their meter in a steamy bathroom? Extreme temperatures and humidity can skew that BG number by causing your test strips to fail or your meter to malfunction (3, 4). So make sure that you are storing and using your test strips and meter within the operating temperature and humidity recommended by the manufacturer.

Pick. A. Good. Meter. (aka One of The Most Accurate Blood Glucose Meters)

Sometimes it’s tempting to compare meter readings to see which meter is more accurate — but that can be misleading, as we’ve written about before. Most fundamentally, it’s important to pick a meter that’s been given the seal of approval 🥇 from the Diabetes Technology Society (DTS).

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Why the DTS, and not the FDA?

All meters sold in the US are approved by the FDA to meet accuracy standards. This means, 99% of blood glucose measurements are within 20% of lab results, and 95% of blood glucose measurements are within 15% of lab results. But only 6 meters (six!) were recognized by the DTS as being accurate beyond the FDA requirement (5, 6). Meaning? The accuracy standards of the FDA are (maybe) not the best. Rather, accuracy legitimacy (if you’re concerned about that sort of thing) should be based upon the DTS’ approval, since the DTS has some of the highest accuracy standards in the market today.

The same technology inside one of the top 6 meters in the DTS’ study is what’s inside your One Drop | Chrome! So you can rest assured that you’re getting best-in-class accuracy in an amazing, sleek, and stylish package. 🎯 🌟

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5423336/
(2) 
http://clinical-and-molecular-endocrinology.imedpub.com/the-impact-of-not-washing-hands-on-the-result-of-capillary-glycemia.php?aid=8152

(3)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769960/

(4)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16315736/

(5) https://www.fda.gov/downloads/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/UCM380327.pdf
(6) https://www.diabetestechnology.org/surveillance.shtml

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Ginger Vieira Joins One Drop 🤩

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We are over-the-moon excited to announce that Ginger Vieira is joining the One Drop family as one of our Content Creators! Ginger’s going to be serving up all kinds of insight, inspiration, and expertise on all things diabetes.

So who is Ginger Vieira? Check out this ridiculously awesome bio: 

Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease since 1999, and fibromyalgia since 2014. She is the author of Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes, Dealing with Diabetes BurnoutEmotional Eating with Diabetes,  and Your Diabetes Science ExperimentGinger creates content regularly for Diabetes StrongHealthline, HealthCentral, DiabetesDaily, EverydayHealth and her YouTube Channel. Her background includes a B.S. in Professional Writing, certifications in cognitive coaching, Ashtanga yoga, and personal training with several records in drug-free powerlifting. She lives in Vermont with her husband, their 2 daughters, and their dog, Pedro.

Find out how this diabadass collab came to be below, in Ginger’s own words!

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The Real Real: Test Strips Are Expensive 

When I first heard about One Drop, I really was quite skeptical of the whole ‘unlimited-test-strips’ thing 🤨 — because anybody who’s had diabetes long enough knows that test strips cost about $1 per strip! That is, if you get them the traditional route with a prescription and health insurance.

So I signed up for one month and realized: the whole ‘unlimited-test-strp’ thing is, in fact, legit and very real. (Actually, even after signing up and officially paying for my first month, I was still skeptical that I would truly be able to order ‘300 strips’ and not have to pay more. HAH! I remember messaging their Twitter account so somebody would promise me it was real!)

The more I got to know One Drop through Twitter and through the founder Jeff Dachis’ Twitter, I realized this was a company created by people with diabetes, for other people with diabetes. And I really wanted to be part of their mission! That mission, as far as I could tell, was two-fold: give people with diabetes access to the tools they need to manage blood sugars well, and, eventually, force the diabetes pharmaceutical and technology industry to get real about their own prices.

True Life: Diabetes at the Playground

In my own life with diabetes, I’d have to say that while I test my blood sugar a heck of a lot, my blood sugars have been fluctuating a lot this past year. I blame my children for that! But seriously…two kids under the age of 4 is no joke, and my diabetes kind of takes the hit there as a result.

For example, if my blood sugar is 175 mg/dL (9.7 mmol/L) but I’m about to take them to the playground, there’s just no way I’m going to take a correction dose for that high number! Because I hate hate hate having low blood sugars at the playground when I’m chasing a 15-month-old who can run, and a 3-and-a-half-year-old who never shuts up. That’s just pure torture. 

Thanks to One Drop, though, (seriously) I can check my blood sugar before we leave for the playground, and then again 15 minutes later before we get out of the car. To relieve my “Ahhhhh, I don’t wanna be low at the playground ever again” fears!

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How Does Diabetes Affect Your Mental Health?

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What is it about diabetes that is so hard?

When I tell people – especially people who don’t know much about diabetes – about my work, they usually look confused. Most people think of diabetes as a physical condition and have never really thought about the mental aspects that come with living with the condition. Even some people with diabetes are surprised that there are organizations like CDMH that focus on diabetes and mental health. They know that living with diabetes is hard for them, but often they are surprised to hear that their concerns are actually (and unfortunately) quite common.

So how does diabetes affect your mental health, exactly? I tend to think about diabetes and mental health issues very broadly. While some people with diabetes have a mental health condition (that may or may not be related to having diabetes), there are many others who struggle with issues that are very real, but which may not meet the (sometimes arbitrary) criteria for a mental health diagnosis.

Psychology is the study of how situations, emotions, and relationships in our lives interact and impact our behavior. I think that this definition provides us with a framework we can use to talk about how diabetes very much affects mental health.

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Situations

Diabetes is a self-managed condition. This means that it is the person with diabetes, not their doctor, who is responsible for taking care of him or herself on a daily basis. Diabetes involves making frequent, sometimes life or death decisions under sometimes stressful and physically uncomfortable circumstances. In addition, diabetes management is constant and can feel overwhelming. If you or someone close to you has diabetes, take a minute and think about all of the steps you take in your diabetes management everyday. What to eat, how much medicine to take, when (or whether) to exercise, how to interpret a glucose reading, how many carbs to take to treat a low, the list goes on. Decisions, and resulting behaviors (and their consequences) are critical aspects of diabetes management. However doing everything necessary to manage diabetes can become overwhelming – and feeling overwhelmed is usually no fun.

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Emotions

Many people with diabetes know that that having diabetes can result in some unpleasant and uncomfortable emotions. One question that I get asked a lot why living with diabetes is so tough and what causes these negative emotions. Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. Being diagnosed and living with a chronic condition like diabetes can be really hard, and as we talked about before, managing balancing everything that’s necessary to live well with diabetes can be overwhelming. Even if you do everything that you are ‘supposed’ to do, diabetes can be unpredictable and frustrating. And if you aren’t able to do everything you are ‘supposed’ to do, it can cause feelings of anxiety, guilt and even hopelessness. And we haven’t even talked about the emotional impact of not feeling well. As you can see, there is no easy answer to this question because well, diabetes is complicated.

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Relationships

Diabetes can have a big impact on the way that people with diabetes live their daily lives and interact with the world, and this can be especially challenging when it comes to relationships with family and friends. Stress and other negative emotions can affect the ability to be present in relationships, and sometimes the ability to have relationships at all. And that is without even throwing diabetes in the mix. Relationships are an important part of the human condition and in many people’s emotional well-being, and when diabetes affects relationships – and it does – this can cause a significant level of distress.

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Behavior

I am a big believer that everything we have talked about up to this point leads back to behavior. People often seek mental health treatment because of how their situation, emotion or relationship is causing them to behave. Having diabetes and the stress it involves (the situation), the way it makes you feel (the emotions), and the impact it has on your relationship with others intersect, and can sometimes make it difficult to behave in the way that you want to. For some people, this means adhering to their diabetes treatment plan and taking care of themselves. For others this means feeling so depressed, anxious or helpless that they have trouble going to work or school, or doing things they enjoy. Still for others diabetes causes strain or conflict in a relationship, making it hard to be a loving supportive friend. And for others, it is a combination of all of these issues and others we haven’t talked about here.

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Always remember: it will get better

Even though the intersection of diabetes and mental health is complex, I want to re-assure that there’s hope. There are many people living with diabetes who live fulfilling lives and who have fulfilling relationships. If you are struggling with diabetes-related stress issues, know that it can and will get better. But before we can solve a problem, it’s important to think critically and define it. I hope that this gives you a good place to start.

Who needs healthcare, anyway?

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Self-care and empowerment in the age of the quantified self

The day my I found out I was expecting my first child, I wanted to learn anything and everything that was going to happen to my body and my baby over the next 9 months. Sure, I had appointments with OBs, midwives, and ultrasound technicians. I followed a relatively normal schedule of prenatal care. I checked. During my pregnancy with Elliott, I saw a healthcare professional 13 times.

But my two pregnancy apps? I looked at them EVERY DAY. Usually several times a day. I used one app to understand what was happening inside my body, and to see how Elliott was developing, track my weight changes, store health data and images I wanted to see and go back to. I used the other app to get advice about what to eat, what activities to avoid, and even what over the counter medications I could take. I looked to that app to decide how to take care of myself far more than I looked to my healthcare team for this advice.

Here I was, experiencing my first baby — arguably the most important thing to ever happen to my body — and the vast majority of how I took care of myself was directed and informed not by a qualified medical team, but by two health apps on my cell phone. This underscores a really important point: self-care is self-directed.

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No doctor told me to use those apps.

I chose them. I searched for them, I selected them, I downloaded them, and I decided they were good enough. After entering some personal data, my apps knew my due date, when my prenatal appointments should be, and what foods I should eat based on my weight changes… and I could store my sonogram photos and belly selfies. Just what I needed and wanted.

We’re in an age of the quantified self. With every click, our devices are capturing tons of data on what we do, how we live, and what we’re interested in. The digital revolution has brought with it a bounty of hardware and software to track and manage our general health, activity, fertility, pregnancy, mood, and just about anything under the sun. A combination of convenience and cost-savings drives our desire to track and manage our health using our mobile devices rather than deal with an inconvenient and costly healthcare environment. This has given way to over 200,000 mobile health apps and an increasing amount of people downloading and using them.

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But finding a useful health app is like searching for a needle in a haystack…

According to a NYU Langone Medical Center study, 58% of people have downloaded a health app, but only half of those people continue to use the app. Although 9 out of 10 want a doctor to prescribe a health app, download decisions are driven by App Store searches and reviews rather than by a doctor’s recommendation. The healthcare community just doesn’t know what to do with apps yet, largely due to a lack of evidence on their utility. For consumers, continued app use is based on whether or not an app delivers on its intended purpose while being easy and enjoyable to use. Apps that couple smart design with empowering, data-driven insights are winning this race.

According to Dr. Robert Anderson and Martha Funnell, MS, RN, CDE, empowerment, “involves facilitating and supporting [people] to reflect on their experience… Such reflection often leads to their enhanced awareness and understanding of the consequences of their [behaviors and] decisions.” Digital solutions that leverage data to facilitate self-reflection, awareness, and understanding are not only checking this box, but may be the heaviest hitters in a very saturated marketplace. “Informed decision-making is a critical component of empowerment. Apps and other technologies are a powerful way for people to see their data and make more informed day-to day decisions about managing diabetes. We used to think blood glucose testing data and other data were judgments; but, in fact, that data is the best guide for what people need to be doing right now. They help us think about what we could do differently the next time we are in a similar situation, so we achieve the most desirable outcome,” said Funnell.

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Our world has never been more data-driven, and self-care support must be data-driven too.

Mobile health companies like One Drop are harnessing people’s health data to empower and improve individual and population health, generating evidence on the utility of their solutions, and finding creative ways to be a healthcare game changer. It’s a huge nut to crack, but a meaningful and empowering data-driven user experience with clinical evidence will crack it.

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Low Carb Almond-Crusted Dijon Mahi Mahi Recipe

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This low carb fried fish is certain to kill any cravings for carb-y, crispy, flour-battered fish fry. Almond-Crusted Dijon Mahi Mahi has only 10 grams of carbs and is ready to eat in about 15 mins. It’s that simple!

This super low carb mahi mahi recipe is sure to be a hit in any household. For one, it’s a mild-flavored fish, so your anti-seafooders won’t have any trouble with that fishy taste. And with the almond add-on in this recipe, you’ll have the most delectable low carb mahi mahi recipe in the neighborhood 🙂

Check out the full recipe below!

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Almond-Crusted Dijon Mahi Mahi + Kale Salad

Serves 2.

Ingredients
Fish:

– 2 filets of your choice of fish (I used mahi mahi, but any fish filet will do!)
– 1/2 cup whole almonds
– 1/3 cup dijon mustard
– 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
– 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– salt
– olive oil for frying

Side Salad:

– 1 bunch of raw kale
– feta cheese
– thinly sliced raw red onion
– 1 lemon/lime
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste


Instructions
Fish:

1. Place almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

2. Mix chopped almonds, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish.

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3. Season the fish filets with a generous amount of salt.

4. Coat filets with Dijon mustard.

5. Dip filets in the almond/paprika/cayenne mixture to coat both sides.

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6. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  (I also added a small spoonful of butter for extra flavor, but butter is completely optional.)

7. Once the oil is hot, place the filets in the skillet and fry until the fish is cooked through. Fish is cooked when it is opaque and breaks easily into flakes when you nudge it with a fork. The almond coating should look brown and crispy.

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8. Serve warm and garnish with lemon or lime.

Side Salad:

1. Wash kale and tear the leaves apart into bite-size pieces.

2. Massage kale until it begins to soften and wilt (about 2-3 minutes). Don’t skip this step! It transforms the kale from bitter to silky and sweet.

3. Place massaged kale and thinly sliced red onion into a large bowl.

4. Squeeze lemon/lime juice over kale & red onion (do this to taste – 1/2 of a lemon or lime may be enough).

5. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.

6. Toss the ingredients together.

7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Serve with a generous topping of feta cheese.

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Carb Count

And the total carb count for this super-rich, delicious, nutrient-packed meal is… 23 grams! Here’s how I logged it in my One Drop app.

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The One Drop Guide to A1C

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A Numbers Game

Living with diabetes means living with numbers. Lots of numbers. Take A1C, for example. What is A1C? The hemoglobin A1C (“HbA1C” or “A1C”) blood test is used to diagnose diabetes and assess how well someone is managing their diet, food, activity, and blood glucose levels.

But what is A1C? What are the A1C ranges that define prediabetes and diabetes? What causes your A1C numbers to rise? How do you convert A1C to average blood glucose?

A1C: The Ultimate Guide

The A1C test is a blood test used to diagnose diabetes and assess how well someone is managing their diabetes. Your A1C value is a number that reflects your average blood glucose (BG) over the past 2-3 months*.

To help better understand all those numbers, we’ve come up with a helpful guide! In it, you can track your numbers with a detailed A1C chart and use set goals for future A1C test results.

Check out the One Drop Guide to A1C for answers to all of your most frequently asked questions and download the High Resolution PDF.

 

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*Red blood cells live 2-3 months, so A1C reflects the hemoglobin’s exposure to glucose over that time.

 

What is A1C? One Drop Guide to A1C and Diabetes

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Low carb deviled eggs with a (spicy) twist!

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The quintessential deviled eggs recipe, with a little extra kick! Packed with protein and full of flavor, these eggs make great low-carb snacks or hors-d’oeuvres. And the best part: only 4 grams of carbs per egg. Enjoy!

Low carb deviled eggs recipe with sriracha 🌶

Serves 12.  Ready in 45 minutes.

Ingredients

✓ 12 large eggs

✓ 6 tablespoons mayonnaise

✓ 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

✓ 4 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce

✓ 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

✓ 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

✓ Paprika

✓ Kosher salt

✓ Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Hard-boil the eggs: (i) place raw eggs in a large saucepan — all eggs should rest on the bottom of the pan in a single layer; (ii) cover eggs with cold water — the surface of the water should be ~1 inch above the eggs; (iii) cover saucepan and bring water to a rapid boil over high heat; (iv) turn off the heat & leave the eggs in the covered saucepan on the stove for 10 minutes.

2. Cool & peel the eggs: (i) run cold water over the eggs until they are no longer warm; (ii) allow them to stand until they have cooled completely; (iii) peel the shells from the eggs.

Cooled Eggs

3. Cut the eggs in half lengthwise and carefully remove the yolks. Set egg halves aside to fill later.

Halved Eggs

4. Make the filling: (i) combine yolks, mayo, mustard, sriracha, lime juice, & cilantro in a bowl and blend together well (by hand or using a food processor — turns out great either way!); (2) add salt & pepper to taste, if needed.

5. Evenly spoon the filling into the egg white halves. Top with a dash of paprika and chopped cilantro leaves for garnish.

Sriracha Deviled Eggs!

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