Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Blood Testing Question for You Diabetics

I posted a few weeks ago about studies suggesting blood sugar is the cause of atherosclerosis.  I am tempted to measure blood sugar before and after my treadmilling.  I am hoping it burns a lof blood sugar, but when in doubt, measure and use math.  How painful is it to take a blood sample for testing?  Recommendations on test devices?


  1. It's relatively easy to get used to especially if you use a lancet device (put the lancet in, put the cover back on, place on finger, cock and fire). A bit of practice getting the depth right but it quickly becomes routine. I've been using the Bayer Contour USB for several years and now I see there is a new model available that uses less expensive test strips. (The strips are proprietary by brand...they are the 'blades' to the tester 'razor.') It's not very painful at all once you get the depth right but on occasion I'll hit something just right and it will sting a bit.

  2. I don't believe that blood sugar levels are a cause of atherosclerosis/ischemic heart disease. While it is true that diabetics have the same risk of having a myocardial infarction as a non-diabetic who has had a MI has of having another one, people who are not diabetic still have MIs. Also, type II diabetes is basically a genetic disease. So if your parents had type II diabetes, you are just screwed.

    That being said, most glucometers require a fingerstick. I suggest to my patients that the prick the sides of their fingers, as the pads are quite sensitive. It is not necessary to check frequently unless you are on variable doses of insulin and need the data to calculate the treatment.

  3. Modern spring-loaded lancet devices control the depth of the jab, and can be adjusted for your skin thickness so that it is just barely enough to yield a drop or two. The discomfort is minor and fleeting.

    I have charted my levels after specific events to see trends, drawing samples every twenty or thirty minutes for several hours. I found that towards the end of a series I was flinching rather more than usual because I was sticking each finger two or three times, and some tenderness persisted for a couple of hours even though I was careful to use different sites.

    Still: as a tool user, you will experience similar levels of discomfort repeatedly throughout a normal day and not really notice. (But then, I'm the sort who can discover that he is bleeding substantially without any idea of how I acquired the wound.) The testing discomfort seems worse than it is because you are deliberately inflicting it on yourself while doing nothing else to distract you from it.

    I do not have enough experience to make equipment recommendations.

  4. Testing glucose levels involves pricking your finger and depositing a minute blood sample on a test strip. You get the result in about 5 seconds.

    I have used the Aviva Accu-Chek Plus for years:

    The lancet that comes with the Accu-Chek is easy to use and pretty much painless.

    The manufacturers of glucose meters follow the razor model: the razor is cheap but the blades are expensive.

  5. Its really easy to to do with a glucose monitor. However your blood sugar levels will go up after a workout not down. Byproduct of the workout your body will release sugar into the blood system.

  6. If you mean the prick-your-finger test to check current blood sugar levels, it feels just like you think it would: you're poking a pin into your finger to squeeze a drop of blood out. It hurts no worse than being bitten by a horsefly except it's self-inflicted which reduces the surprise factor but not the sting. Man up, dude, millions of children do it several times a day. You'll get used to it.

  7. Paul: Diabetes is inherited, but if the work on atherosclerosis as a reaction to elevated blood sugar is correct, one might be subject to it without having diabetes. I am going in for my semiannual labs shortly and the A1C numbers are probably more useful.

  8. Target sells a target-branded meter that's only $10. The bigger deal is their test strips are much cheaper than brand-name ones. (IIRC more like $10/bottle of 25 vs $25/bottle)

    Walmart does the same thing, but my friend who's a type-1 diabetic and checks his sugar 5x daily recommends the Target over the Walmart.