How to achieve pain free diabetes testing

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | Jun 02, 2011

When you undergo diabetes testing for glucose monitoring, it can be painful since you have to get a drop of blood from your finger.  While some people don’t mind this method of testing, others find it to be very unpleasant. Unfortunately, when this test is painful, it those with diabetes are more likely to skip regular testing, which is important to maintaining good health.  The good news is that new methods of diabetes testing have been developed which are virtually pain free.  

How Does Diabetes Testing Work?

Patients with Type 2 diabetes are supposed to test their blood sugar at least once a day.  If you have Type 1 diabetes this means that you are definitely using insulin.  As a result, you will need to test your blood sugar even more than those with Type 2 diabetes.  For patients with Type 1 diabetes testing 3-10 times per day is common.  

What Leads to Pain in Diabetes Testing?

One of the issues with the standard methods of testing is that pricking one’s fingertips can really hurt.  Fingertips tend to have a lot of nerve endings and can be extremely sensitive.   As a result, often doctors recommend that patients use the fleshy parts of the sides of their fingers.  If you have to prick yourself, make sure that you vary the spots that you use.

There is also “alternative site testing” which allows patients to use the palm or forearm with the same diabetes test strips.  This allows people to take it easy on their sore fingers.  

Blood Glucose Meters and Diabetes Test Strips

There are constantly new diabetes test supplies on the market including monitors that enable patients to avoid using finger sticks altogether.  As a result, they can draw blood from areas that are less sensitive like the forearm and thigh.  Plus, if you get a blood glucose meter, you can place a smaller drop of blood on disposable diabetes test strips.   You will quickly get a reading on a digital display.  Through this means, since only a small drop of blood is needed when diabetes test strips are used in conjunction with a blood glucose meter, the whole process tends to be far less painful.  Many patients find that it is well worth the expense to invest in a blood glucose meter.

Diabetes Testing with a Blood Glucose Monitor

Oftentimes those with diabetes opt for a CGM or continuous blood glucose monitor.  This device continuously monitors the blood sugar levels.  The person with diabetes just needs to wear the sensor under his or her skin.  There is an electronic receiver that is worn that continuously displays blood glucose levels.  

Additional New Technologies for Diabetes Testing

Even aside from the blood glucose monitor, new ways of offering pain free testing are continuously in development.  These technologies also have the major benefit of monitoring blood sugar levels at night when a patient is sleeping.  Some of the new options include GlucoTrack, which is completely noninvasive and uses an ear clip that is attached to the earlobe.  This system works for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  

Another new option is by inLight Solutions. This company offers blood sugar monitoring through an infrared device that shines onto the skin.  A spectrometer measures the differences between the light on the skin, providing an accurate measurement.

Constant Medical Advancements

If you have diabetes and are finding that the constant tests are too painful, rest assured that there are new breakthroughs in testing making their way to market every day.  Increasingly, more and more people are getting diabetes.  As a result, more doctors and researchers are investing time and money into improved maintenance and better forms of diabetes treatment.



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