Alternative site glucose testing (no fingertips)


#1

I have always used alternative site testing (with the clear cap for the lancing device). When I was diagnosed at 14 I played piano and couldn’t stand the painful finger pricks, so the diabetic educator got me a FreeStyle meter with a lancing device with a clear cap. I poke and get a drop of blood on my forearms most often, sometimes my thighs. I’m able to get a good size drop of blood by pressing down after I poke, creating a small vacuum effect (the cap is designed to work this way). I have found it to be accurate, which makes sense to me because the blood in your fingers is the same blood in your forarm, it gets pushed through your body by your heart really fast. The only time my finger is stuck is when I go to the Endocrinologist.

I have never, ever met another diabetic who does alternative site testing. Not at diabetes camp, not at my support group, no where. My question is, why not? How come more people don’t do alternative site testing? Is it just old habits, or they don’t know about the clear caps, or am I missing a medical reason why the blood should be taken from the finger?


(Dennis J. Dacey, PwD) #2

Hi McHot @HottieMcHot , the only reason you may find that more PWD, at least us with our type, do not use alternate site testing might be the cautions in the product literature. I’ve used alternate sites a few times but I don’t carry the clear cap with me.
As I recall, the literature cautions against using alternate sites whenever BG is quite low or quite high and when BG is changing quickly. I think alternate sites may be used by those people who do not need insulin for living.

Have you ever compared results between your fingertip BG reading and your leg result? I’d be interested. Right now I rely for dosing on a continuous monitor that reads BGL from interstitial fluids in my abdomen and twice a day [occasionally more often] do a fingerstick to calibrate the CGM - occasionally the values of the two devices is the same - there is notable difference when my rates are changing quickly.


#3

Actually, I prefer using my forearm over anything else. I’ve been Type 1 for around 17 years! I dislike very much how painful fingertip pricking can be.

However, I’ve been told by doctors that fingertips give more accurate readings than other areas. It’s for this reason I reluctantly use fingers for highs and lows.

I’ve recently started on a CGM along with the Medtronic 600 series pump I just upgraded to. I have to calibrate the CGM often, so for accuracy reasons I’ll use finger pricks then.