Using expired test strips can affect the accuracy of your results. Learn our recommendations to keep you safe and healthy.
Checking your blood sugar should be done regularly and always with the appropriate supplies.
One of the most important aspects of checking your blood sugar levels is ensuring that all of your supplies are up to date. If you’re using test strips that are expired, they will likely give you an inaccurate reading. This can be dangerous, especially if you make treatment decisions based on an inaccurate number.
Making sure that all of your readings are as accurate as possible is vital in being able to trust the numbers. The only way to know your supplies are reliable is to buy them from a trusted source and check for expiration dates. Using expired test strips can skew your perception of your blood sugar levels and lead you to make decisions based on inaccurate information. When reporting your levels to your doctor, it’s important that you can rely on the data you’ve been collecting.
You should always check your test strips and their expiration date before use. If your stockpile has been sitting for too long or you’re not testing as often as you had originally anticipated, your test strips may have expired.
You can be sure that you always have the supplies you need by having them delivered to your door. This can be done at an affordable price with Diathrive’s Build Your Own Plan option. We’ll be talking about this more later; but first, can you ever use expired test strips and do they still hold any sort of accuracy?
Why Test Strips Expire
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you should be checking your blood sugar regularly. This is how to monitor your blood sugar levels and gain the information needed to assess your body’s reaction to certain variables and to self-regulate.
Glucose test strips are an essential part of at home testing. If you’re worried about checking your blood sugar, know that there are supplies that aid in the process, and you’ll learn the best way to do it through practice and experience.
Let’s go through how glucose test strips work to help frame the importance of not using expired test strips.
Glucose strips are inserted into glucose meters, and absorb the blood sample you apply after you lance your fingertip. Once the blood has been absorbed, it travels down the strip and combines with an enzyme. Then the glucose meter sends a current of electricity through the mixture of blood and enzyme and is able to gain a reading based on the electrical resistance. While the enzyme is very accurate most of the time, it can become less stable with age or with poor storage conditions like excessive heat or cold, or high humidity. This is one of the many reasons why you should only use test strips that haven’t expired, to make sure the enzyme is doing its job effectively.
Enzymes need to be cared for in a certain way. While manufacturer instructions may seem tedious, they’re put in place to ensure that the enzyme and other materials are as useful as possible for as long as possible. One of the biggest things that impacts enzymes is temperature. It’s best to read the instructions that come with your test strips and note what temperature they should be stored at. By doing this, you can be sure that you’re taking all the necessary steps to preserve your test strips and be confident in the results they give you. Even if the test strips are kept in an optimal environment, the enzyme will still age. This will result in it becoming less effective.
Test Strip Accuracy
At a glance, a glucose test strip may not seem complicated. Because of this, one might be tempted to continue using a bottle of strips even if it has expired. Even if test strips look like a mere piece of plastic, they are incredibly sensitive and scientifically complex.
The enzyme with which test strips work is very sensitive and cannot be guaranteed to be usable past the expiration date set by the manufacturer. In order to ensure that the enzyme in your strips is working properly, keep careful track of when they expire and set a reminder on your phone. By doing this, you can be sure that you’re using supplies that will give accurate results and portray an accurate picture of your health.
Should I Use Expired Test Strips?
Nope -- expired test strips should never be used. Using expired test strips means your test results aren’t going to be accurate -- this can become really dangerous, really fast, because your test results are what guide you in making treatment decisions.
Taking action based on results that don’t reflect your true blood glucose levels is a recipe for disaster.
Most people have an emergency plan in place in case their blood glucose numbers are dangerously low or high -- if your test results show that you’re within emergency range but your blood glucose is actually at a safe or even normal level, you may end up taking emergency medication you don’t need, which could actually put you and your blood glucose in the emergency room.
Why Would I Need to Use Expired Test Strips?
In an effort to save money, some people use their expired test strips or even buy test strips that are past their usable date. This is unsafe and should never be done. Following the example of others who do this will not give accurate results and could have negative impacts on your diabetes management.
Purchasing test strips through insurance providers can be unnecessary and increase the cost of your overall care. Insurance companies will often cover the supplies they get the most money for, without taking into account the cost to the consumer. You should research to find diabetes testing supplies that fit your budget and are priced fairly. You don’t have to purchase through insurance, and paying out-of-pocket may be cheaper.
While test strips can be expensive, there are high quality options that are affordable. Diathrive’s test strips are an excellent option for those who want reliable supplies at a reasonable cost. There’s never any need to use an expired test strip when purchasing through Diathrive, as all of our supplies are priced to be affordable and accessible by cutting out the middlemen like retailers and insurance companies.
Another great option is Diathrive’s Build Your Own Plan. Through this, you can have the diabetes supplies you need delivered to your door. This can be done as frequently as needed and eliminates the need to go to the store and buy overpriced supplies. You’ll never run out of the testing supplies you need when purchasing through Diathrive. Our options are affordable, convenient, and reliable!
Just because others do it doesn’t mean you should do it -- using expired test strips just isn’t worth the risk. The enzyme on test strips is sensitive enough without factoring in age, and even one wrong result could send you to the hospital because you’ve taken corrective action when you didn’t actually need to.
If you’re thinking about using expired test strips as a way to save money or because you’re short on supplies, try going the Diathrive route instead. Diathrive has unbeatable low prices, possible through our collaboration with manufacturers who are as dedicated to producing affordable, quality supplies as we are.
Diabetes supplies can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Don’t let the cost of care prevent you from getting the quality of care you deserve, and get started with Diathrive today to see how affordable quality diabetes supplies can be when the middle man is no longer part of the equation.