Does altitude affect sugar readings?

Patty Bonsignore


Altitude’s effect on blood glucose readings is mixed. One study conducted in 2002, which examined 8 commonly used meters at altitudes of 14,000 feet, demonstrated that for every 1000 feet gained in elevation, the blood glucose result on the meter would underestimate high blood glucose levels by 1 to 2 %. The chemistry of strips, however, has changed quite a bit in the past 10 years. A more recent research study conducted by de Mol and colleagues in the Netherlands, showed newer meters (that use strips made with different chemicals) were not as affected by high altitude. If you are considering hiking or traveling to high altitude areas and have questions about your meter, it is best to call the 1-800 number on the back of your meter and find out if it has been tested at high altitude and if it was found to give accurate results. If the company representative is unable to answer your question and you will be relying on your meter in high altitudes it may be best to find a meter that has been verified to be accurate at high altitudes.

January 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm