Alternate-Site Testing

Q. What are painless glucose monitors?
Lawrence Morris, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Painless glucose monitors offers an alternative to finger sticks, which allows diabetics to do alternate-site testing on other parts of the body. Upper-arms, thighs, base of the thumb, stomach areas, and forearms testing are just some of the alternate sites available to individuals with diabetes. Because there are less nerve endings in these areas, pain associated with diabetic monitoring is greatly reduced…even sometimes described as “painless”. Glucose monitor that you choose may not be FDA approved for all areas mentioned above, so refer to the monitor's operating instructions for more details on which areas can be used for diabetic monitoring.

Order your painless glucose monitor from American Diabetes Services today! Medicare and many private insurance companies will pay for painless glucose monitors. Fill out our form to find out if you’re eligible for free diabetic testing supplies.

Multi-Site Diabetic Testing

The term "multi-site diabetic testing" can also be used to refer to glucose monitors, which are capable of diabetic monitoring through both alternate-site and finger stick tests. Here are the glucose monitors currently allowing both types of diabetic testing:

Vaculance: Lancing Device

The Vaculance offers another option for alternate-site testing. This lancing device creates a vacuum to easily draw blood to the surface. The Vaculance can be used with most painless glucose monitors. Please note: this lancing device can only be used in alternate-site testing, and cannot be used on fingers.

How Accurate are Painless Glucose Monitors?

Studies have shown that readings will vary when alternate-site testing is done on other areas of the body. This is partially due to the circulation of the blood. While painless glucose monitors well for diabetics with relatively stable glucose levels, the fingertips will provide a more accurate reading when glucose levels are rapidly changing. This is important to understand when you are determining your insulin injections or watching for hypoglycemia.

Why Use Alternate-Site Testing?

Fingertips have a high number of nerve endings compared to the alternate sites, so when you test with alternate sites, you reduce the pain of diabetic monitoring. This can offer additional relief if you use your fingertips for typing, musical instruments or other tasks. Here are some other factors to consider when looking into alternate-site diabetic testing:

  • The amount of body hair in the allowed testing areas can interfere with the test by causing blood to smear.
  • Do you have easy access to the alternate sites you can test on - or do you wear stockings, long pants, long sleeves, etc.
  • Do you bleed easily and could this be a concern for the clothing covering those areas.

Always review and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for alternate sites not to test on with the brand painless glucose monitor you use.

Interested in ordering a painless glucose meter? American Diabetes Services can help you order the supplies you need for alternate-site testing. Also, we can help you find out if Medicare or private insurance company pays for painless glucose monitors. Fill out our form to find out if you’re eligible for free diabetic testing supplies.