Feb 2023

Why Your Blood Glucose is Unstable and Keeps Changing? How Does This Affect Blood Sugar During Testing?

Blood Glucose is Unstable?Presently, there are various devices and gadgets which make blood monitoring possible. Still, people who monitor their blood glucose often have a concern — the difference in readings.

Blood Glucose is Unstable? Monitoring blood sugar should be an integral part of the lifestyle, not only for people with diabetes but also for people with ideal health. When integrated into a daily life routine, blood sugar testing helps you stay ahead of potential health problems.

Presently, there are various devices and gadgets which make blood monitoring possible. Still, people who monitor their blood glucose often have a concern — the difference in readings.

Why does this happen? 

Let’s know this better with Sam’s example.

Sam is diagnosed with diabetes. He was complaining to his friend that his readings differ when he measures with different meters and when he uses three different fingers, even at the same time. 

His friend John, a doctor, explained that your blood glucose changes every minute. No matter what device, how advanced technology, or which mode you use, your blood glucose readings are bound to deviate to some extent.

“Why so?”, asked John in a surprised tone. To which Dr. John replied —

Blood glucose is unstable. It keeps changing every moment under the influence of certain factors that are beyond anyone’s control.

It’s an intrinsic property of glucose circulating in the bloodstream. And no device or technology can tackle this natural mechanism of the human body.

Moreover, there are also some external factors leading to fluctuations in blood glucose readings.

It’s not about the device measuring blood glucose. It’s about the dynamics of your inner body.

So many things keep happening in your body at a time. Your diet, water levels, metabolism, sleep-wake cycle — all affects glucose in blood. Your readings, at any instant, are the cumulative effect of these factors.

Hence, it’s important to address and reveal the whole truth why blood glucose

glucose readings keep varying. 

From temperature, humidity, dehydration to the kind of device used, and the mode of measuring, various factors affect the blood glucose levels in your body, which in turn, affect your readings.

Let me tell you about these factors in detail.

What factors make blood glucose unstable in our body?

Sleep

Proper sleep of 6-8 hours is necessary for every individual. That too, if you are diabetic your sleep matters a lot. 

It is the time when your body repairs and resets. Improper sleep or constant sleep deprivation may result in increased blood sugar levels. This is because when you don’t get enough sleep your circadian rhythm, hormones, and everything get affected. 

Some people even become dehydrated due to improper sleep. So yes, sleep is a crucial internal factor that can cause variations in blood sugar levels. 

Dehydration/Water Intake

Do you know what happens to blood sugar levels when you become dehydrated? Dehydration decreases the amount of water in the bloodstream. This makes the glucose in the bloodstream concentrated.

Consequently, the ratio of water and glucose would change drastically. This can result in a rapid rise in your blood sugar levels whenever you are dehydrated.

Even mild to moderate dehydration can raise your blood sugar level by 50-100 mg/dL. Stay enough hydrated by drinking 2 liters or 8 glasses of water a day to keep your glucose levels sane.

Hematocrit variations

Hematocrit variations, which is the ratio of red blood cells in your blood can affect your glucose readings. This can happen when you have health issues like anemia. 

Normal hematocrit levels are:

Males – 0.40-0.54/40-54%

Females – 0.36-0.46/36-46%

Newborns – 0.53-0.69/53-69%

Now, the thing is, these hematocrit levels themselves are subjected to variations. Health conditions and seasonal changes are mainly responsible for such variations.

Fortunately, most self-monitoring blood glucose systems are manufactured with settings that take into account and autocorrect the hematocrit variations.

Physical activity 

According to the American Diabetes Association, moderate exercise can lower blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours. While physical activity can help you maintain blood sugar levels, sometimes people notice a sudden spike in glucose levels after their workout. 

Sometimes, after intense exercises like weight lifting, you can notice blood sugar spikes. When you do heavy workouts, your body releases stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline into the blood. 

This can raise your blood glucose levels for a short period of time. It’s also possible to witness no spike even after high-intensity exercises, sometimes.

That’s how unpredictable your blood glucose is!

Diet

You are what you eat and what you digest. Your diet plays a major role in both maintaining and lowering your blood sugar levels.

If your diet is largely based on refined carbohydrates and processed foods, then it can result in increased blood sugar. On the other hand, foods with complex carbs, fibers, and proteins cause low spikes in blood sugar, keeping them almost stable.

Also, the extent of the spike after eating a particular food varies from person to person. Let’s say, that person A observes his blood sugar rises by +/-15 mg/dL after having two apples. Whereas, for person B, the spike can be +/- 5 mg/dL.

This again depends upon your genetic makeup, metabolic mechanisms, and dietary patterns to which your body is already adapted.

Hormonal Changes

Various hormones play certain important functions in maintaining glucose levels. They are, 

Fluctuations in these hormones would lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels as well.

Illness or infection:

Your blood sugar levels might become highly unpredictable when you’re sick. Whenever you’re ill, your body handles it the same way as it handles stress. 

Your body’s coping mechanism would get started and it can result in increased blood sugar levels. Also, some conditions like diarrhea and vomiting might lead to lowered glucose levels as your food intake becomes low.

This can become either way according to the situation and cannot be avoided till you recover from the phase.

Medications

Consuming medications for any conditions like high blood pressure? It can also alter your blood sugar levels. 

Some medications can lower blood sugar levels while others might increase them. Below is the list of some medicines that interfere with your blood sugar levels:

Stress

Stressful situations and anxiety are inevitable at times. Though stress alone can’t lead to diabetes, there is a link between these two. 

When you find yourself stressed, your stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline come to the rescue. These hormones give you that energy bomb you need at that moment. 

But, these hormones can reduce the secretion of insulin in the pancreas. This can lead to an increase in your glucose levels.

While it’s hard to completely avoid stressful situations, we can definitely manage it through meditation. In case you’re interested to learn more about dealing with stress and anxiety with the help of meditation, you would love to read this.

Environment

Environmental conditions like temperature and humidity also contribute to alterations in glucose readings

At extreme temperatures and humidity, enzymes in the test strips might become sensitive resulting in different readings.

Secondly, your body undergoes specific changes in different temperatures and humidity. 

Further, at extremely hot temperatures, some people might become dehydrated. While at an extremely cold temperature, some can have problems with decreased blood circulation. 

These changes in the body get reflected in your blood sugar readings.

What Makes Your Glucometer Readings Go Wrong?

After talking about the internal body factors affecting blood glucose dynamics, John explained some external factors that interfere with the readings. Sam eagerly kept listening when John said, these factors can be controlled by being careful while taking a test.

Every device is different

First of all, different devices are built with different technology and have different parameters to generate results. So, variations are natural and acceptable.

Some glucometers use electrochemical methods, some use sensors, while others come with codes. Different results might show up due to differences in their mode of working.

Hence, It’s quite obvious for readings to differ slightly, in case you switch to using a new device. You don’t have to panic in this case. 

Different fingers, different readings (Testing site location)

In the case of invasive devices, different people use different body parts to draw blood for testing.

Apart from fingertips, people are using their palms, upper arms, thighs, and forearms to test their blood glucose. This is a great alternative to avoid pain because of repetitively used fingers.

But how accurate other sites would be similar to the fingertips is a debatable one. Wondering why?  

For example, assume you are using a blood sample from your palm or thighs.  

Your thighs are not supplied with fresh blood that quickly compared to your fingertips. Otherside, fingers are flooded with fresh blood and so you can get an accurate reading for that particular moment.

Evidently, devices with non-invasive blood sugar monitoring again come to rescue and save from such problems.

The Process and Factors Involved in Traditional Glucose Monitoring Might Make It Unreliable 

Traditional glucose monitoring involves test strips. If anything goes wrong with test strips, it will be reflected in readings too. 

Some of the things that might lead to variations in readings are,

Another hectic factor in the process is the amount of blood to be taken on the test strip.

Too much or too little amount of blood in the test strip could be a factor for inaccurate readings. 

Though your glucose meter’s instructions guide would tell you the blood sample size to be filled in the strip. Yet, it can be tough to place the exact amount of blood. But, try not to exceed or decrease the amount given to prevent inaccuracies. 

With devices that don’t require you to draw blood, you don’t have to deal with the trouble of getting the right amount on the strip.

“But are there any such devices which enable blood sugar monitoring without pricking and drawing the blood?”, asked Sam surprisingly.

“Ofcourse, they do.”, replied John. 

He further added, these devices work on non-invasive blood glucose monitoring technology. This technology enables us to measure blood glucose levels without pricking fingers. You can get your sugar levels checked with just a touch!

Moreover, you can save money on buying costly lancets over and over again. These strips and lancets contribute to environmental harms too, when not disposed properly.

“I’ll tell you more about non-invasive glucose monitoring and its life-changing benefits”, Dr. John continued.

Non-invasive Glucose Monitoring

Pricking fingers multiple times a day is the most feared aspect of blood sugar monitoring alone. It’s not only painful but mentally draining too. 

Thanks to non-invasive glucose meters which provide a prick-free and pain-free way to measure blood sugar levels.

These non-invasive monitoring systems mainly use algorithms, IoT, and sensor signals to calculate blood glucose levels. You need not insert a lancet, draw blood, or experience numb fingers.

As blood glucose in the body is in a dynamic state naturally, the results shown with non-invasive glucose monitoring might be slightly variable at some instances. Besides this, non-invasive glucose monitoring is proven to give pretty much precise results.

Now, this reminds me of Eyva, which enables painless glucose monitoring but is much more than a glucometer.

“Can you tell me more about it, John?” Sam pleaded.

Eyva is the world’s first and only lifestyle gadget to measure 6 key body vitals including blood glucose, with just a touch! 

You can not only have pain-free blood glucose monitoring but also achieve a holistically healthy lifestyle with regular monitoring of your major health vitals.

Eyva provides real-time readings, that too in 60 seconds, which help you make quick adjustments in your daily life activities, say diet, exercise, sleep, and improve your overall well-being.

After introducing Sam to this wonderful gadget, Dr. John further told Sam about an important tool in blood glucose testing.

Scroll below to find out what John and Sam continued up to.

Understanding the CEGA graph:

The CEGA is a graph (an effective tool)  that is widely used to understand and check the differences between the meter and lab test readings. The CEGA stands for Clarke Error Grid Analysis. 

In this graph, the X axis denotes the readings obtained from giving a venous blood sample (a lab test) and the Y axis shows the glucose meter readings. 

Adding to that, the graph is divided into 5 zones from alphabets A to E. Here’s a simple breakdown of what zones A & B depict.

Zone A – Accurate reading – can take medical decisions

Zone B – Slightly Incorrect – but within a reliable range

There are 3 more zones, namely — C, D, and E, as per the variations in readings. For self-monitoring blood glucose devices, the variations of up to +/- 20% are accepted.

Eyva falls under A & B categories but it is not recommended to replace the clinical diagnosis and take medical decisions with it. This gadget is best suited for daily health vitals monitoring and optimizing lifestyle quality.

Effective Solutions To Reduce Variations in Blood Glucose Monitoring 

Looking to get the most effective results with your home-based glucose monitoring? Here are 5 effective solutions that would help you get more accurate blood glucose readings (and 5th one is a savior!)

1. Wash your hands properly before you test – clean, dry & relax

If you are not washing your hands every time before testing glucose levels, then you’re probably underestimating the need for it. Your hands must be clean enough in such a way that any dirt/oil/contaminants don’t interfere with the results.

This might seem like an obvious tip but is often skipped or missed by people before testing glucose levels. 

2. Confirm with the lab test

Earlier, people were depending on labs to get their glucose tests done. But with the development of technology, we now have glucose meters to test blood sugar wherever and whenever we need it. 

Glucose meters are used to check sugar levels regularly daily. But you should still consider lab tests at regular intervals for precise blood sugar management.

Even lab test results at times can’t guarantee accuracy. It depends on a lot of factors.

But there is a way you can verify your glucose meter and lab readings. If your glucose meter readings are 10-20% higher or lower than your lab readings, it is completely normal. You don’t have to panic. 

3. Establish a routine

Your doctor must have suggested timings like before or after meals or an empty stomach to test your glucose readings. Follow your doctor’s instructions without fail and establish a routine to check your glucose levels.

In the long term, this would be helpful to analyze the readings and change the treatment or diet plan for diabetes. 

4. eAG – Estimated Average Glucose:

Getting your eAG tests done is the best way to confirm and improve accuracy. Because what you check daily are just temporary results. These readings measure blood glucose levels only at the present moment.

Only eAG results can give you an overview of your glucose levels for the past 2-3 months. So, it’s always a better idea to check eAG levels regularly. 

This would not only give you accurate results but also shows you how well your treatment is working and if your medications and diet need to be altered at the right moment. 

5. Go with the average of multiple readings at a time

When it comes to self-monitoring blood glucose systems, the average is accurate. If you’re taking 3-4 readings at a time that have slightly different values, go with the average of all those readings.

That’s your accurate reading.

“But taking 3-4 readings at a time is scary, and that pain makes it worse” sighed Sam.

“I got you, Sam. 

That’s why I told you about pain free solution. You never have to worry about painful pricks with Eyva. It is a one-time investment giving you lifetime returns. Take as many readings as you want, free from hassles and full of comfort.”, said Dr. John.

He further added how Eyva helps you be watchful of your average blood sugar readings. For this, you need to view the “Trends” screen on the Eyva app and track your daily/weekly/monthly average blood glucose levels.

The Wrap-Up Note

Checking your glucose levels daily can make you anxious and confused, especially when you get different readings every time.

Sam got all his doubts and concerns cleared. Plus, he got to know about a pain-free and comfort-optimized way to do daily blood sugar monitoring, from John.

Like Sam, we hope you too have answers to your queries and concerns now. Get started with better blood glucose monitoring today!

Check out Eyva here.

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