Everything You Need to Know About Alternate Site Testing

Are your fingertips sore, swollen or sensitive from blood sugar testing?

Do you check your blood glucose multiple times a day as part of your diabetes management? If testing causes you anxiety and pain, and you need to give your fingers a break from being a pincushion, then keep reading!

In this article, we show you how to take the ouch out of blood sugar testing and agonizing about where to prick next with alternate site testing.

But first, let’s look at blood testing.

Why is Blood Testing Necessary?

If you’ve been newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, you’ll know that blood sugar testing is the main way to identify what your blood glucose levels are. It’s an important part of controlling diabetes to determine how much sugar or glucose has dissolved in the blood.

Self-testing requires pricking the skin with a lancet to get a drop of blood, before placing it on a test strip in a glucose meter or monitor. This tells you how close you are to your normal blood sugar level (expressed as a number) to keep you healthy and feeling better than when your levels are off.  Getting to grips with blood testing can be a pain, but there is an alternative solution.

What is Alternate Site Testing?

Alternate Site Testing or AST refers to using another part of your body that’s not your finger, to test your blood. Essentially, it’s about giving your fingers a break and using alternative locations on your body for blood testing. If you’re doing a lot of blood tests, the skin on your fingers, which have so many nerve endings can become sensitive, tough and even sore.

The good news is that you can use other parts of your body, such as the soft fleshy parts of your palm, the forearm, thighs, calves and even the abdomen to get a blood sample.

Can All Meters Be Used for Alternate Site Testing?

It’s always a good idea to check with the meter’s instructions to make sure that your meter can be used with alternate site testing, as it may not be possible with all blood glucose meters.

Is Alternate Site Testing Accurate?

The best time for alternate site testing is when your blood sugar is stable. For example, immediately before a meal, when fasting or near bedtime.

Research[i] has shown that when blood sugar is either rapidly rising or falling, alternate site testing might not be as accurate. If you’re considering alternate site testing, please talk with your healthcare professional first.

Is There a Less Painful Way to Test?

Luckily, there are new lancets and lancing devices designed to make blood glucose testing as painless as possible. The Genteel Lancing Device uses a patented vacuum and depth control technology to get the perfect drop of test blood with reduced pain and discomfort.

Perfect for those with diabetes of all ages, you can use Genteel with your existing blood glucose meter and test strips. Get your Genteel Lancing Device today, and kiss pain goodbye forever! We offer fast global and FREE shipping plus a 120-day money back guarantee.

[i] Diabetes Journal Accessible [Online] http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/4/981.full Retrieved 2018-05-31

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