Diabetes is a serious medical condition that requires regular monitoring; most individuals use their blood sugar testers multiple times a day and record the results to determine patterns, dips, and spikes. Due to the nature of blood sugar monitoring, this means pricking their fingertips several times throughout the day.

Though diabetes lancets are designed to make the process as efficient as possible, piercing the skin is understandably painful and may lead some diabetics to avoid testing as often as they should. However, knowing your current blood glucose levels is essential to managing diabetes and preventing serious complications.

The good news is, there are ways to make the testing process more comfortable. In fact, to help our customers with this issue, the team here at MedEnvios Healthcare has created this guide to reducing pain while checking your blood sugar.

Do Diabetic Supplies Affect Pain?

Yes, the supplies you use to obtain and test a sample can make a big difference in the amount of pain. For one, you want to ensure you’re using a lancing device and not just a lancet on its own. Lancing devices use a spring to launch the lancet, resulting in a quick, neat puncture. Most people find this more tolerable than trying to apply the pressure themselves.

That said, diabetes lancets aren’t the only supplies you need to consider. Which glucose monitor you use can make a significant difference in your testing experience.

Minimum Sample Amount

Most glucose monitors don’t allow you to apply more blood to the strip if your first sample is too small, which means you need a sizable blood sample the first time around. To avoid this concern, it’s advisable to find a monitor that can generate an accurate assessment with the smallest amount of blood possible. Fortunately, many glucose monitors can test for blood sugar with just a few microliters, meaning a single drop of blood is sufficient.

Variety of Testing Sites

You may have wondered why physicians recommend you test on your fingers. If it’s so painful, why continue to take samples from that area?

As it turns out, the fingertips deliver the most accurate blood sugar readings. Blood circulates to your fingertips faster, meaning their glucose levels “update” the soonest after eating, exercise or other activities. When you need to know your numbers immediately, you should test on your fingertips.

That said, there are blood sugar monitors that can accept samples from other testing sites. Each device has its own limitations, but the most common alternate testing sites are these:

  • Arms
  • Calves
  • Thighs
  • Palms

Please note that the readings can be up to 30 minutes behind your actual levels, which is why they’re not recommended.

How Can You Make Testing Less Painful?

Now that we’ve discussed equipment let’s talk about different techniques you can use to make testing less painful. Here are a few well-known tips to ensure you get a large enough sample, don’t endure more pain than necessary, and don’t have to prick yourself more than once.

Massage Instead of Squeezing

You may be tempted to squeeze your finger to get a large drop of blood. However, this not only hurts but can skew your results. Squeezing doesn’t necessarily pull more blood from the capillaries; instead, it brings blood from closer to the skin’s surface, which can dilute your sample.

Instead of squeezing, gently massage your finger to generate more blood flow. Alternatively, you can rest your hand at your side, fingers pointing down — just a few seconds should be enough.

Use New Lancets

Regularly purchasing diabetic supplies can be expensive, so we understand why some people would choose to reuse lancets. However, lancets become duller with every use. That means that every time you use the same lancet, it becomes a little more difficult to pierce the skin. Over time, the process becomes inefficient and more painful than necessary.

It’s best to use a new lancet for each test if possible. This ensures the lancet is sharp. You should also choose the thinnest lancet available when ordering, as this means a smaller area of contact with your skin and a smoother puncture.

Use a Shallow Prick

Lancing devices have different settings, allowing you to set how deeply the lancet pierces. It’s recommended for minimal pain that you go with the shallowest setting that still draws a sufficient sample. To do so, start with the shallowest setting and adjust it each use until the blood sugar tester is able to read your sample.

Don’t Prick the Pad of Your Finger

There are many nerves in our fingertips’ pads, which is wonderful for our dexterity but makes these areas painful to prick. Instead of using a lancet on the puffy pad where your fingerprint is located, take a sample from the side or very tip of your finger. Many people report that the area nearest your nail is the least painful.

Alternate Fingers

One of the best ways to reduce pain is to alternate fingers. Every time you take a blood sample, it should be from a different digit. This means no one finger has to take the brunt of the punctures. To ensure you can keep track of which digit to use, set a pattern, such as 

moving from left to right. If you still have trouble remembering, you may want to write down which finger you used last.

Skip the Alcohol Wipe

Cleansing your fingertips before taking a blood sample is essential, as it prevents contamination from food residue and natural oils. Many people use an alcohol wipe for this purpose, which has the added benefit of sanitizing the area. However, alcohol dries out the skin, leaving it feeling tight. Not only can this lead to cracked or irritated skin over time, but tightened skin is harder to pierce, making it more painful to get a blood sample.

Instead, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then dry thoroughly. This is all you need to cleanse your skin. As an added bonus, warm water can increase blood flow, making it easier to get a well-sized sample.

Avoid Sore Fingers

If your finger is already sore, it’s best to skip it and move onto the next. This may be the result from a hangnail, certain activities (such as playing guitar or cross-stitching), or a minor injury. Whatever the cause, there’s no harm in giving that digit a rest.

Apply Lancet With Confidence

Ideally, you should be able to get a blood sample with one puncture. To ensure the lancet pierces deep enough and in the right place, make sure to hold your finger steady and apply the device to your skin with a fair amount of pressure.

Choose Callused Areas

Over time, your fingers will develop calluses from being pricked and healed over and over again. This thickened skin isn’t as sensitive, which means less pain. However, you may have to increase your lancing device settings’ depth to puncture the skin properly, so keep that in mind if you’ve noticed your samples gradually getting smaller.

Where Can You Purchase Reliable Diabetes Supplies?

Here at MedEnvios Healthcare, we’re dedicated to providing reliable diabetic supplies to our customers. You can order directly from our website and get your items delivered to your door. For more information or to review our products, you can visit us online.

Though diabetes lancets are designed to make the process as efficient as possible, piercing the skin is understandably painful and may lead some diabetics to avoid testing as often as they should. However, knowing your current blood glucose levels is essential to managing diabetes and preventing serious complications.

The good news is, there are ways to make the testing process more comfortable. In fact, to help our customers with this issue, the team here at MedEnvios Healthcare has created this guide to reducing pain while checking your blood sugar.

Do Diabetic Supplies Affect Pain?

Yes, the supplies you use to obtain and test a sample can make a big difference in the amount of pain. For one, you want to ensure you’re using a lancing device and not just a lancet on its own. Lancing devices use a spring to launch the lancet, resulting in a quick, neat puncture. Most people find this more tolerable than trying to apply the pressure themselves.

That said, diabetes lancets aren’t the only supplies you need to consider. Which glucose monitor you use can make a significant difference in your testing experience.

Minimum Sample Amount

Most glucose monitors don’t allow you to apply more blood to the strip if your first sample is too small, which means you need a sizable blood sample the first time around. To avoid this concern, it’s advisable to find a monitor that can generate an accurate assessment with the smallest amount of blood possible. Fortunately, many glucose monitors can test for blood sugar with just a few microliters, meaning a single drop of blood is sufficient.

Variety of Testing Sites

You may have wondered why physicians recommend you test on your fingers. If it’s so painful, why continue to take samples from that area?

As it turns out, the fingertips deliver the most accurate blood sugar readings. Blood circulates to your fingertips faster, meaning their glucose levels “update” the soonest after eating, exercise or other activities. When you need to know your numbers immediately, you should test on your fingertips.

That said, there are blood sugar monitors that can accept samples from other testing sites. Each device has its own limitations, but the most common alternate testing sites are these:

  • Arms
  • Calves
  • Thighs
  • Palms

Please note that the readings can be up to 30 minutes behind your actual levels, which is why they’re not recommended.

How Can You Make Testing Less Painful?

Now that we’ve discussed equipment let’s talk about different techniques you can use to make testing less painful. Here are a few well-known tips to ensure you get a large enough sample, don’t endure more pain than necessary, and don’t have to prick yourself more than once.

Massage Instead of Squeezing

You may be tempted to squeeze your finger to get a large drop of blood. However, this not only hurts but can skew your results. Squeezing doesn’t necessarily pull more blood from the capillaries; instead, it brings blood from closer to the skin’s surface, which can dilute your sample.

Instead of squeezing, gently massage your finger to generate more blood flow. Alternatively, you can rest your hand at your side, fingers pointing down — just a few seconds should be enough.

Use New Lancets

Regularly purchasing diabetic supplies can be expensive, so we understand why some people would choose to reuse lancets. However, lancets become duller with every use. That means that every time you use the same lancet, it becomes a little more difficult to pierce the skin. Over time, the process becomes inefficient and more painful than necessary.

It’s best to use a new lancet for each test if possible. This ensures the lancet is sharp. You should also choose the thinnest lancet available when ordering, as this means a smaller area of contact with your skin and a smoother puncture.

Use a Shallow Prick

Lancing devices have different settings, allowing you to set how deeply the lancet pierces. It’s recommended for minimal pain that you go with the shallowest setting that still draws a sufficient sample. To do so, start with the shallowest setting and adjust it each use until the blood sugar tester is able to read your sample.

Don’t Prick the Pad of Your Finger

There are many nerves in our fingertips’ pads, which is wonderful for our dexterity but makes these areas painful to prick. Instead of using a lancet on the puffy pad where your fingerprint is located, take a sample from the side or very tip of your finger. Many people report that the area nearest your nail is the least painful.

Alternate Fingers

One of the best ways to reduce pain is to alternate fingers. Every time you take a blood sample, it should be from a different digit. This means no one finger has to take the brunt of the punctures. To ensure you can keep track of which digit to use, set a pattern, such as 

moving from left to right. If you still have trouble remembering, you may want to write down which finger you used last.

Skip the Alcohol Wipe

Cleansing your fingertips before taking a blood sample is essential, as it prevents contamination from food residue and natural oils. Many people use an alcohol wipe for this purpose, which has the added benefit of sanitizing the area. However, alcohol dries out the skin, leaving it feeling tight. Not only can this lead to cracked or irritated skin over time, but tightened skin is harder to pierce, making it more painful to get a blood sample.

Instead, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then dry thoroughly. This is all you need to cleanse your skin. As an added bonus, warm water can increase blood flow, making it easier to get a well-sized sample.

Avoid Sore Fingers

If your finger is already sore, it’s best to skip it and move onto the next. This may be the result from a hangnail, certain activities (such as playing guitar or cross-stitching), or a minor injury. Whatever the cause, there’s no harm in giving that digit a rest.

Apply Lancet With Confidence

Ideally, you should be able to get a blood sample with one puncture. To ensure the lancet pierces deep enough and in the right place, make sure to hold your finger steady and apply the device to your skin with a fair amount of pressure.

Choose Callused Areas

Over time, your fingers will develop calluses from being pricked and healed over and over again. This thickened skin isn’t as sensitive, which means less pain. However, you may have to increase your lancing device settings’ depth to puncture the skin properly, so keep that in mind if you’ve noticed your samples gradually getting smaller.

Where Can You Purchase Reliable Diabetes Supplies?

Here at MedEnvios Healthcare, we’re dedicated to providing reliable diabetic supplies to our customers. You can order directly from our website and get your items delivered to your door. For more information or to review our products, you can visit us online.

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