You can stay active and healthy even with diabetes. The goal of managing diabetes is to avoid low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), as well as high blood glucose or hyperglycemia. That’s why it’s important to use a proper monitoring system to check your blood glucose levels. Lancets and lancing devices are often overlooked as an important component of glucose testing kits. But the right lancing device can make drawing blood samples easier and less painful.

Although diabetes is mainly a problem of high blood sugar levels, the medications that some patients take often lower their blood sugar to a dangerous level. Hypoglycemia can occur in people who are taking insulin, sulphopnylureas and prandial glucose inhibitors like repaglinide. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to coma and death.

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Taking Blood Sample for Glucose Monitoring

Aside from insulin injection, the process of drawing blood sample is one of the major downsides of having diabetes. It is an unpleasant but crucial task in managing the disease. Thanks to modern technology, the process is becoming less tedious and less painful over the years.

Difference between lancet and lancing device

A lancet or blood lancet is a small medical tool used to puncture your skin to obtain blood sample. It resembles a small scalpel but has a double-edge needle or blade. Lancets are often disposable and may come as part of glucose meter kits.

Lancing device is an automatic, blood-sampling instrument that is equipped with a lancet. You can adjust how deep the lancet pricks through the skin. If you have thick or calloused fingers, you may need to choose a deeper setting.

Is there a painless way to draw blood samples?

Researchers are also looking for possible solutions to make testing blood glucose less painful, but a painless process is still yet to arrive. You can try the following methods to make drawing blood not as dreadful:

Prick the side of your fingers

The tip of your fingers are filled with nerve endings, so pricking hurts more in these areas. The side of your fingers contain less nerve endings compared to the pad or tip. Check if drawing blood from this area is less painful to you.

Choose alternate testing sites

You can choose not to prick your fingers if they become sore; alternatively, you can prick the palm of your hand, forearm and thigh. You will need a lancing device with special caps if you want to do alternate site testing. Some lancing device cannot be used in other body parts. It is also not advisable to use alternate sites when you suspect low blood glucose level or if you’re expecting rapid glucose changes, such as after a meal and during or after exercise. During those times, your true blood glucose level will be different in the alternate sites.

Change your lancets

If you are fond of reusing lancets, chances are, your lancet is now blunt and is causing more pain. The tip of the lancet gets misshapen in each use. A fresh lancet can reduce pain because a sharp needle can easily penetrate your skin. Less resistance equals less pain.

Decrease lancing device setting

If you’re using a lancing device with depth dial settings, you may try to decrease the setting to a lower level. Experiment on depth settings: can you still draw blood using the lowest setting? Thin skin doesn’t need a deeper setting.

Use thinner lancets on your device

Before buying lancets, check the type of lancet that your lancing device supports. You may also ask your healthcare practitioner for guidance. Never share lancing devices even with diabetic family members to avoid infection or contamination. Reuse of lancets, hygiene and sterilization should be discussed with your doctor.