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Cut the Pain in Diabetes Blood Sugar Test

The Solution Is in the Palm of Your Hand, Study Shows
WebMD Health News

June 13, 2005 -- People with diabetes can check their blood sugar with a prick to their palm rather than their fingertips, which are much more sensitive to pain, say researchers.

Sherwyn Schwartz, MD, of the Diabetes and Glandular Disease Clinic in San Antonio, and colleagues presented their study in San Diego, at the American Diabetes Association's 65th Annual Scientific Sessions.

The study included 181 people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar samples were taken before and after a meal. Blood was drawn from the palm or fingertips. The post-meal tests spanned up to two hours for kids and four hours for adults.

The results showed that "palm testing is a suitable alternative to fingertip testing," say the researchers.

The palm has plenty of blood capillaries and fewer pain receptors than the fingertips. Other body parts -- such as the forearm and thigh -- have also been proposed as alternate sites. But the palm is easy to access, say Schwartz and colleagues.

People with diabetes don't need a new meter for the palm test, says an American Diabetes Association news release.

Patients should check with their doctor before making the change, but this new approach looks promising for decreasing the pain of blood sugar checks.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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