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Diabetes Testing - Using Your Control Solution

You might have heard that the many advances occurring with some of the blood glucose meters allow you to perform blood test monitoring on different parts of your body, like the palm, forearm, upper arm, thigh, or even calf.

Because the skin of these other parts of your body contains fewer nerves, testing can feel much more comfortable. This is what is called Alternative Site Testing, or AST.

It's vital to know that while blood from your fingertip can be tested at anytime, there are times when testing from alternative sites isn't ideal. That's why you should get the information about alternative site testing and talk with your doctor prior to your decision of alternative testing.

Let's Go info further detail:

* In comparison with your fingertip, you might see differences in blood sugar results from the palm, forearm, upper arm, thigh, or even calf.

* Blood taken from the fingertip shows changes in blood sugar levels faster than blood taken from the other sites of the body.

* These differences in blood sugar occur because the fingertips have more blood vessels than the alternative sites.

So, alternative site testing is recommended when blood sugar is stable, such as:

* Immediately prior to a meal

* When fasting

* Near bedtime

Times when alternative site testing isn't recommended:

* 2 hours following a meal, when blood sugar values are rising quickly

* After exercise

* When you are ill; as blood sugar values can go quite high

* When you think your blood sugar is incredibly low or falling quickly (hypoglycemia)

* If you have a history of not noticing when you have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

* During the peak action time of the basal insulin

* Up to 2 hours after when injecting rapid-acting insulin

* If you check your blood sugar and the blood sugar test doesn't match the way you feel, then you should perform a fingertip to confirm your result. If the fingertip result however doesn't reflect the way you feel either, contact your doctor.

* Don't change your course of action based on just 1 blood sugar result.

* Your success in getting an adequate drop of blood from alternate sites will deviate. Depending on the meter you pick, you might wish to try different approved sites until you find the one that works for you.

When you select a site, stick with it. Do not perform and then try on your calf and then the next time on your forearm. If you try out on the forearm, always check out on the forearm. The only exception should be fingertip tests.

Please note: Please talk to your doctor prior to trying alternative sites other than your fingertip for testing blood sugar.

I find the best place to use alternative testing is the palm next to the thumb. You can try other approved alternative sites and see which one works the best for you.

Copyright 2005 Fern Kuhn, RN Specializing in Diabetes

You may reprint this article as long as you keep the links active

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