By: John Ngijseh
Did you know there are 9 simple steps that you can take to make testing your blood glucose a lot less painful?
At the moment the only way to accurately check blood glucose is to take a blood sample from the finger (by pricking) and then check the resulting blood for glucose.
Pain is caused by the penetration of the lancet into the skin when pricking. The deeper the lancet has to penetrate the skin, the more painful the testing is but on the other hand the deeper the lancet penetrates the skin the more blood is produced for testing.
The tips below focus on ways to reduce the pain of testing but still provide sufficient blood for measurement:
1) Wash your hands with soap and warm water – this will help keep the testing site clean and help dilate the blood vessels in the fingers to increase blood flow.
2) Massage your finger downwards to the tip of your finger – this will help push blood towards the tip of your finger so that when it is pricked there is plenty of blood ready to come out.
3) Have your testing hand pointing downwards below your waist – blood will flow more easily when following gravity downwards.
4) Set your lancing device – lancing devices have different settings to pierce the skin at different depths. If you use the tips in this article you should find that you will be able to use a lower setting but still have enough blood for testing. Try changing the settings to find the right level.
5) Select the right meter – different blood glucose meters require different amounts of blood to carry out a blood glucose test. The less blood needed, the less painful testing will be. Choose a blood glucose meter that requires only a small testing sample. The Accu-chek Aviva needs 0.6 microliter of a blood sample, which is a small sample.
6) Alternate your fingers – don’t use the same finger over and over again. You have 8 fingers, distribute the testing evenly. You’ll find your fingers will recover much faster and blood flow will be better.
7) Moisturize your fingers – harden skin through regular testing can reduce blood flow out when pricked. Help your skin repair and your fingers recover. Regularly moisturize your fingers.
8) Prick the tip of your fingers – better blood flow at the tip of your finger so best place to test but make sure you use the skin on the side of the finger next to the nail. This area has less nerves and so less painful!
9) Use a new lancet each time! – a lancet is designed only to be used once. Once used it becomes blunt and if re-used it can be very painful.
These tips should help make testing a lot less painful. If you know others who could be helped by these tips then send them a link to this page.
Editor’s Note: John Ngijseh is a qualified pharmacist with a special interest in diabetes. He has worked on a number of projects with diabetics and has been writing articles on the subject for many years. John Ngijseh is also a part of the Glucosemeters4u.com team (www.glucosemeters4u.com), a website specializing in glucose meters and related diabetic diagnostic products.