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Alternate site testing

Some blood glucose meters allow you to use a blood sample from non-fingertip (alternate) sites such as the palm, forearm or upper arm.1 Because the skin of these areas contains fewer nerves than the fingertip, alternate site testing may be more comfortable.2

It's important to know that while blood from your fingertip can be tested at any time, there are times when alternate site testing may not give you the most accurate result.

When it's okay—and not okay—to check from alternate sites(3)

Alternate site testing should only be used when blood sugar is stable:

  • Immediately before a meal
  • When fasting
  • Near bedtime

Always check from your fingertip, however, when blood sugar may be changing:

  • Following a meal, when blood sugar is rising quickly
  • After exercise
  • Whenever you think your blood sugar might be low or falling

Important alternate site testing notes

If you're considering alternate site glucose testing, please remember:

  • Never ignore the symptoms of low or high blood sugar.
  • If the results of a blood glucose test don't match the way you feel, confirm with a fingertip test. If the fingertip result still doesn't seem to reflect the way you feel, get in touch with your healthcare professional.
  • Please talk to your healthcare professional before using sites other than your fingertip for testing blood sugar.

When to test blood sugar

Take the pain out of blood sugar checks


1 Talk with your healthcare professional before deciding if alternate site testing is right for you.
2 Freitas RA. Nanomedicine, volume I: basic capabilities. Georgetown, TX: Landes Bioscience; 1999. Available at: http://www.nanomedicine.com/NMI/7.4.6.1.htm. Accessed December 21, 2011.
3 Bina DM, et. al. Clinical impact of prandial state, exercise, and site preparation on the equivalence of alternative-site blood glucose testing. Diabetes Care. 2003; 26:981-985. Available at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/26/4/981. Accessed December 21, 2011.

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A hand-held device for testing and measuring blood sugar levels. A drop of blood is placed on a small strip inserted in the meter. The meter quickly calculates and displays the blood sugar level. Also known as a blood glucose monitor.

Performing blood glucose tests on other parts of your body, such as the palm, forearm or upper arm.*

 

*Talk with your healthcare professional before deciding if alternate site testing is right for you.

A simple sugar created by the breakdown of carbohydrates in food. Glucose is the body's source of quick energy. On this site, we use "blood glucose" and "blood sugar" interchangeably.