Are there times when fingertip testing is preferred?
Many people can use the forearm or the other body areas every time they test. It is important to note: When your glucose is changing rapidly, there may be a difference in the glucose readings between your arm and finger. Because blood flow to the finger is 3-5 times faster than to the arm or other alternative sites, fingertip blood may show these changes sooner than other areas. The possible difference in glucose readings between the fingertip and alternative sites could delay your detection of hypoglycemia.
Fingertip testing is recommended:
- If you think your blood glucose is low (hypoglycemia). Blood glucose that is too low must be treated right away. If you have symptoms such as weakness, sweating, nervousness, headache, or confusion, follow your doctor’s recommendation for treating hypoglycemia.
- If you have a history of hypoglycemia unawareness (no symptoms when your blood glucose is low).
How would I know if I have hypoglycemia unawareness?
- Have you often obtained blood glucose readings below 55mg/dl without any of the usual symptoms of hypoglycemia (sweating, tremors, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, extreme hunger)?
- Have you had episodes of impaired thinking?
- Have others observed you in situations where you appeared pale, tired, confused, or acting as if in “slow motion?”
- Have you acted irritable or forgetful, even though you physically felt fine?
- Have you had difficulty managing a hypoglycemic episode, which required the assistance of others?
- Have you ever had a seizure or loss of consciousness without any warning signs?
- Do you try to maintain very tightly controlled blood sugars (often running below 90mg/dl)?
- Have you had frequent episodes of hypoglycemia?
- Have you had diabetes over 20 years?
- Have you had a recent episode of severe hypoglycemia?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, please discuss this situation with your physician.