# When will US switch bG units from mg/dl to mM?

I hope soon.

Pros? millimolar is more logical, used in Europe and elsewhere, easier to work with, used in research labs everywhere at the bench-level, the publication standard in peer-reviewed material in biochemistry and related fields, and ultimately better than milligrams per deciliter to express bG.

Cons? The US adopted the obsolete system in common practice and people are lazy to change from what they are familiar with.

How to convert? It's easy. Just remember the number 18 as a conversion factor until you get used to thinking of the new unit. It's this simple: 18 mg/dl = 1mM.

What's your opinion on a US switch-over? What say you? Make your case here.

Examples.

The euglycemic range is typically 3.9 - 10 mM.
(same as 70 - 180 mg/dl)

The desired clinical clustering of bG data is around 6.0 to 6.5 mM.
(same as 108 - 117 mg/dl)

Hypoglycemia is defined as bG <3.9 mM. (same as <70 mg/dl)

Severe Hypoglycemia is commonly described as bG <2.5 mM. (same as <45 mg/dl)

The range of bG meters is 1.1 to 33.3 mM which pretty much covers all values one is likely to encounter. (same as 19.9 to 599 mg/dl)

My own morning f(bG) meter reading today was 7.0 mM. (same as 126 mg/dl)

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### Replies to This Discussion

I like triple digit measurements. 119 to me is different than 111 and I'm not enamored of the trails of infinite decimals generated by 18.

Acid,This non-mathmetician imagines a "formula for pi" result on the pump,continuing around the earth several times; as it computes my dosages needed for whatever units are compatable to 1/2 cup of diet cranberry juice. I am not "enamored " with the change, either.
God bless,
Brunetta

Europe is not using mmol/L but the majority of European countries are. Germany for example is using both systems because in the GDR mmol/L was standard.

However there are good reasons to not switch to mmol/L:

a) the mg/dl scale gives small differences more weight. For mmol/L some of the importance is in the decimal places. Psychologically people do not give much importance to small numbers. 8.8 does not look high compared to 6.6. But the small difference of 2.2 it is already hurting the kidneys. In comparison 160 mg/dl is clearly 40 mg/dl higher than 120 mg/dl.

b) more math for corrections: as a general standard it is assumed that one unit of insulin will decrease the glucose by 30 mg/dl. In mmol/L terms this is 1.66 and simplified this is just 1.6. Now the calculations with these numbers are more complicated. Example: you have 190 and want to calculate the dosage for a correction to 120:

mg/dL
(190 - 120) / 30

mmol/L
(10.5 - 6.6) / 1.6

c) I do not see any advantage to switch to the mmol/L metric. It is just data and for scientific evaluations this data can be converted easily.

In Italy we use mg/dL: we are (still ;-) ) in Europe.
UK, Switzerland use mmol/L (Germany both, I didn't know that), who else?

I agree, big numbers are better and speedier to spell at phone, and it's immediate to "perceive" under 50, 100, under 150 and above 200 levels.

I agree with you.

We use mmol/l but the hospitals use mg/dl, even the blood services uses mg/dl, probably a standard that everyone understands in their setting, so be it, it's just data!

I think I will stick with mg/dL, it's the clinical standard for the US and if my pump and meters where uploading data as mmol/l it would be useless when my clinic uploaded it for use with their programs. And then there is also the life's to short don't sweat the small stuff...;-)

But I would like to have a cool green bird dog like that...if he could talk...wow how cool would that be.

us aussies use mmols...come to the dark side my american friends!

Nooooo!!! Never!!!!!

But seriously, such a change would confuse me to no end. What about folks who have been using mg/dL for the last 30 or 40 years (i.e., since home BG monitoring was available)? Even in a foggy, hypo state, I know that a number like 50 needs to be treated. If I was in some hypo fog and saw a 3.3, I would be so confused. Now what would help is if my meter displayed BOTH numbers so that I could learn to associate mM numbers with mg/dL numbers.

mg/dl IS metric!

I agree that we would adjust. I have lived in countries on the metric system and I stopped "translating" after awhile, but I don't want to change either. In the case of "switching" to the metric system I found it to be much simpler and cleaner - units of 100 and 1000 rather than arbitrary 12's and 16's. But I think the opposite is true here - whole numbers are "cleaner" than decimal numbers.

But the bottom line, even if you want the change - don't hold your breath. I'm old enough to remember the various attempts of the U.s. to switch to the metric system - they went nowhere - fast. We're a country of pioneers, remember "I do it my way!

I like the bigger numbers better, Holger made some good points earlier in the thread. While the metric system the rest to the world uses is clearly superior, in this case I think ours has the advantage.

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