7 Tips To Make Blood Sugar Checking Less Painful

In my last posting on diabetes I encouraged readers to test often in the early stages of diabetes so they can learn about what affects them. Seems simple enough but this is not without controversy. There are groups which believe all that testing is not necessary if your diabetes is relatively well controlled and your blood sugar numbers are coming in at the normal ranges. If you are indeed showing good values you probably do not need to be testing often; I am just curious as to how you are supposed to get to the good values if you have not spent any time learning how foods affect you.

I think a lot of the shying away from testing regularly is that some people find it painful and health care providers are reluctant to add another stress to someone who has just been diagnosed with diabetes. With my clients I found the opposite, they were empowered by knowing what triggers were unique to their body and right from the start they began to see who was in charge.

So I will always be an advocate for more testing, at least until you know your diabetes-self . Below I have listed 7 tips on how to make the testing less painful:
1. Find out what works for you
Some people are shown one way to test the first time and think they always have to test that way and if it hurt that first time they are afraid to try again. You need to find what works for you. For many people the side of the finger, close to the fingernail works best. Some people find their thumb is best because it is more callused so try different areas until you find what works for you
2. Avoid pricking the fingertips
This part of the finger is especially sensitive because they tend to have more nerve endings so avoid using this area. You can also try to pinch or put pressure on where you’re going to test to seal it and that seems to minimize pain
3. Don’t use alcohol to sterilize your fingers
Alcohol dries out the skin and tends to cause more cracking and pain. It is better just to wash your hands with warm water to increase blood flow
4. Vary the fingers you use
Pick an easy-to-remember pattern to make sure you’re not using the same site over and over again. If your finger is sore, don’t use it for testing until it heals
5. Don’t reuse equipment
Try to use a new lancet each time you check. Lancets can get dull if they are used multiple times, resulting in a more painful prick
6. Try not to squeeze blood from the finger tip
If you are not getting enough blood after pricking try hanging your hand down below your waist to increase circulation or try squeezing gently near the base of your hand towards your fingertips. Don’t squeeze the fingertips
7. Find the right blood-glucose monitor (glucometer) for you
Some blood-glucose monitors produce a reading with much less blood than others; consider investing in a new model if you routinely have trouble obtaining enough blood. There are also some meters that allow you to take samples from other parts of your body like your arm. Look for one of these if things don’t improve with the fingertips

Hopefully less pain will lead to regular testing and much better control of your diabetes

Published by maisievanriel

Welcome to my website. My name is Maisie Vanriel and I am a Registered Dietitian. I am a graduate of The University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Nutritional Science and a Diploma in Food Safety from the Guelph Food Technology Centre. I realized a few years ago that some of the best times I have had in my career as a Dietitian have been those times when I was writing. For many years I was part of the Editorial Advisory Board of Diabetes Dialogue Magazine (The Canadian Diabetes Association) which afforded me the opportunity to write articles and editorials on diabetes. I contributed to the first Ontario Healthy Eating Manual and recently reviewed the lesson plans in the updated version launched this March 2012. In May of 2011, I won the Toronto Star’s MoneyVille section Next Blogger’s contest beating out 265 other contestants for the chance to write on nutrition and sensible shopping. My winning Blog was entitled: 5 things your grocery store won’t tell you. Writing is one of my favourite ways of communicating and like cooking it relaxes me; so in some ways your allowing me to communicate with you will contribute to my health and I hope in return I can contribute to your health and wellbeing. The inspiration for this website is my grandmother who lived 97 years and enjoyed excellent health for almost all of those 97 years. She believed in healing power of herbs, a plant-based diet and in paying attention to the type of fuel (food) that she put in her body. So my postings will be less about the constant stream of research and studies around what and how to eat and more about reminding us that we have always known how to eat. We just need to get back in tune with our bodies and focus on providing it with the best possible fuel, quality foods.

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