Five Tips for Easy Blood Sugar Monitoring

How to Avoid Pain When Testing Your Blood Sugars

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Blood glucose monitoring can seem overwhelming, perhaps even a bit scary. I haven't met many people who actually enjoy the act of testing their blood sugar, but I have met many that don't mind it. Monitoring your blood sugars is a valuable tool for managing medicines, weight and blood sugars. It can also be a good motivational tool. If possible, aim to shift your mindset and think about it like this: monitoring our blood sugars is a great way to obtain information about how your body responds to food, stress, exercise, and medicines.

For those of you with Type 2 diabetes that are not monitoring your blood sugars because it's too painful or you are afraid, I have good news - there are ways to make blood glucose monitoring simple and less uncomfortable. 

Avoid the Pads and Tips of Your Fingers: 

Because the pads and tips of your fingers contain more nerve endings, blood samples from those areas will likely cause more pain and discomfort. Instead aim to position your lancing device between the bottom of the nail bed to the tip of the nail - this is the side of your finger tip. A 60-year-old man told me that his life is forever changed since learning this tip. He is now testing his blood sugars without pain and is obtaining information that has helped him to lose weight and reduce his blood sugars. 

Adjust the Setting of Your Lancing Device: 

Look at your lancing device - it either has numbers or droplets of blood in ascending size.

The higher the number or the bigger the droplet, the deeper the needle will penetrate the skin. Modern meters of today do not need a huge sample of blood to get an accurate reading. I find that most patients do just fine at a setting somewhere right in the middle. For example, if you lancing device dials up to 4, position it at 2 and see how it goes.

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Change the Needles in The Lancing Device After Each Use: 

You should have your own lancing device to which you change the needle after each use. This should be done to prevent infection. Avoid re-using needles. Re-use of needles can cause the needles to dull which can cause pain and discomfort. Also, overtime as the needle dulls, pieces can break off into the skin which can lead to whole new slew of problems. 

Avoid Squeezing Your Finger Vigorously: 

It is not necessary to vigorously squeeze your finger or to squeeze so much to get a huge sample of blood. This can also cause pain. Instead to make obtaining a sample easier - hang your hand down and 'milk' your finger to push the blood to the tip of the finger. To milk your finger you want to stroke from the palm of your hand to the tip of your finger. 

Alternate Site Testing: 

Alternate site testing is an option for some meters, but now always ideal. When using alternate site testing, keep in mind that the sample is giving you a result with a lag time.

Real time blood glucose readings are better at the finger tips. Alternate site blood glucose testing is usually done on the forearms, palms of hands, or thighs. This technique is not meant for every one and should be done only if your blood sugars are stable. In my opinion it's better to use alternate site testing than not test your blood sugars at all.

For more information on alternate site testing go to: http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/invitrodiagnostics/glucosetestingdevices/default.htm

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