Advanced Diabetes Supply

Living with Diabetes.

The Complete Guide To Using Control Solution With Your Glucose Meter

ensure blood glucose meter is functioning properly with control solution

You don’t always need to use control solution along with your glucose meter. Still, this product plays a crucial role for ensuring the proper functioning of glucose meters.

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Written by: ADS Staff

Clinically Reviewed by: Halle Elbling, MS, RDN, CDCES

Managing diabetes can sometimes feel confusing, like trying to find your way through a maze. One important part of managing diabetes is making sure your glucose meter gives you accurate readings. Control solution, also known as CS, is used to help you check your test strips and blood glucose meter are functioning correctly. Testing your blood glucose meter with this solution can be an important step in glucose monitoring. It helps you ensure that your devices are calibrated properly to provide you with accurate data.

In this guide, we’ll explain what control solution is, when to use it, and how to use it correctly. Let’s explore together to make managing diabetes easier for you.

What Is Control Solution?

A woman holding blood glucose testing equipment

In order to to make sure your meter is working properly and calibrated correctly you can use a control solution. Usually, operating your blood glucose meter is a straightforward process. You insert a test strip, collect a drop of blood, apply the blood to the strip, and wait for your results. And the relative simplicity of these devices is a good thing – after all, many people with diabetes do multiple finger stick tests per day.

Keeping a close eye on your blood glucose levels is the best way to determine if your diabetes treatment plan is working as intended. Using control solution can assist you. It helps ensure that the numbers you’re getting on your blood glucose meter are accurate. If you give yourself insulin based on a test result that is not precise, you could very well end up higher or lower than your target range. By using CS frequently you greatly decrease the potential for unnecessary blood sugar fluctuations. However, you won’t be able to make good use of your test results if these results aren’t 100 percent accurate.

Control solution is a type of solution made for the purpose of testing the performance of glucometers. These CSs contain water, buffers, microbicides, and a predetermined amount of glucose. It’s also important to note that not every solution is made the same. Pairing your solution manufacturer with your glucometer manufacture will set you up for the best results… more on that below. By using the right CS with your blood glucose meter, you can identify if it’s working properly or if it needs recalibration.

When Should You Use It?

To assist you in good control of your blood glucose levels, you should make a point of testing your glucose meter with control solution at least once a week. Beyond that, there’s no hard-and-fast schedule for using this product. Consider running a test when:

  • When the meter or test strips are new: It’s wise to make sure that your newly-purchased glucose testing supplies are working correctly before your first blood sugar test with them.
  • When test results do not match how you feel: If your glucose levels are suspiciously high or low, it’s time to double-check your meter’s readings.
  • When your meter has been dropped or damaged:  Even seemingly-small bumps can have a tangible impact on a meter’s ability to do its job
  • When test strips have been exposed to air for prolonged periods of time: CS can help you ensure your test strips haven’t been contaminated in this situation.
  • When your health care specialist recommends a glucose meter calibration: Your health care specialist has your best interest at heart, so, if they tell you to do this, chances are there’s a good reason why.

Other reasons might include:

  • When using new test strips
  • When test strips have been exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity:
  • When multiple tests in a row do not match
  • When your meter has been cleaned or repaired

In any of these cases you, when your blood glucose testing accuracy is in question, testing with solution will help keep you safe. And we all know how the saying goes, “better safe… than sorry.”

Testing Your Glucometer

Now you should understand why control solution is so important – but how do you use it? Chances are, your glucose meter and control solution both came with instructions on how to perform a CS test with your specific device. Make sure to check its user manual for more information.

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to this process to give you a broad idea of how control solution testing works. The steps below shouldn’t be used as a replacement for the instructions in your manual, but they should give you a better understanding of the concept:

  • Step One: Start by putting a new test strip in your glucose meter, and confirm that it’s ready to test.
  • Step Two: Thoroughly shake your bottle of CS before dispensing the solution. After this, discard the first drop and clean the tip of the bottle.
  • Step Three: Let the next drop fall onto a clean, hard surface. Place the test strip on the drop of CS, allowing it to soak up as much as it needs.
  • Step Four: Wait for test results from your meter. These results should fall within the CS range printed on your vial of test strips.

If your test results fall within range, you have nothing to worry about and can go back to using your meter like normal. Otherwise, reach out to the company that made your glucose meter for information on what to do next or contact someone from your diabetes healthcare team with questions.

Things to Know About CS

Control solution isn’t particularly complex, especially if you already understand the process of finger stick testing. However, there are a few warnings you’ll need to keep in mind.

First, remember that CS is not standardized from one manufacturer to another. Each glucose meter company creates its own CS, formulated to work with its own meters. Be sure to buy the control solution corresponding to your meter and test strips.

Like other diabetes supplies, control solution doesn’t last indefinitely. Your CS will have an expiration date on its box – be sure to use it before this date. Along with that, most CS’s are only good for 90 days after you first open the bottle.

Finally, take care to store CS properly when you aren’t using it. Replace the bottle’s cap between uses, and follow the storage guidelines listed for your brand of CS.

Buy Control Solution And More Online

When you follow your manufacturer’s instructions and take a few common-sense precautions, using CS can make living with diabetes safer and easier. At ADS, we’re all about making life easier, if you need help testing your blood glucose meter, talk to our CDCES for personal support. We’re proud to offer many CSs here at ADS for example like Abbott, OneTouch, MediSense and Prodigy control solutions. You can order any of these control solutions online today, not to mention any other diabetes supplies you might need!

prodigy control solution
MediSense® HI & LO Control Solution
OneTouch Verio® Control Solution
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Meet Halle Elbling, CDCES