/publications/issue/2005/2005-02/2005-02-9282

Blood Glucose Testing: Less Pain, More to Gain

Author: Yvette C. Terrie, BSPharm, RPh

This patient education is brought to you by Roche.

The goal of managing diabetes is to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Doing so will prevent further progression of the complications associated with diabetes. You can often achieve this goal with medicines, lifestyle changes (such as diet and exercise), and consistent and frequent monitoring of your blood sugar. You can proactively decrease the number of sugar "highs"and "lows"you have by timely self-monitoring.

When you monitor your blood glucose frequently, you may experience pain and discomfort. This pain can keep you from taking your blood samples. There are, however, steps that you can follow to prevent or reduce the pain associated with blood glucose testing:

Selecting a Glucose Meter

Real or perceived physical pain is the key reason why many people with diabetes do not consistently check their blood glucose levels. There are, however, other "pains"associated with blood glucose testing. It may be difficult to obtain an adequate blood sample for testing on the first try. The testing procedure may be inconvenient if it involves a multistep procedure to prepare the meter. It also may take time to obtain a result and interpret it. When selecting a glucose meter, patients should look for the following key features:

Fortunately, in recent years many advances have been made with regard to glucose meters. The new meters make living with and managing diabetes a little easier and hassle-free.

An example is the ACCU-CHEK® Compact® System, one of the newest members of the ACCU-CHEK line of meters manufactured by Roche Diagnostics. It does not require coding. It requires only a small sample of blood for a fast (8-second) test. An automated drum contains 17 test strips inside the device, so that you do not have to struggle with handling the vial and strips each time. These strips are dispensed automatically by simply pushing a single button. This feature provides both convenience and flexibility for all blood glucose testers. It is especially helpful for those who have problems with fine motor skills. The ACCUCHEK Compact System is approved for alternate site testing at up to 6 different sites, including the palm of the hand.

Advances in the manufacturing of lancets and lancet devices make it less painful to obtain a blood sample. The ACCU-CHEK® Softclix® lancet device from Roche Diagnostics uses cam-driven technology, which minimizes side-to-side movements and prevents unnecessary tearing of the skin. The device has more than 11 depth settings that allow you to choose your own comfort level. Such a system involves less pain. It is a perfect choice for the growing number of children who have diabetes. It also should be helpful for patients using insulin who test more frequently—and for anyone who desires a less painful testing experience.

Taking Control of Your Diabetes

Having diabetes can be both overwhelming and challenging. With proper medication and lifestyle modifications, however, you can control your diabetes and not let it control you.

The most important step to achieving this control is monitoring your blood sugar on a regular basis. With the advances in blood glucose monitors today, you will be able to keep your testing schedule. The new glucose monitoring devices are compact, portable, efficient, and convenient. They allow you to maintain a desirable quality of life and to overcome the struggles of testing. Monitoring your blood sugar will be less painful. With the proper guidance from your health care professional, you can safely manage your blood glucose with less pain and gain control over your diabetes.

Ms. Terrie is a clinical pharmacy writer based in Slidell, La.