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Diabetes

DIABETES: PROBLEMS WITH BLOOD GLUCOSE TESTING

Getting blood If you have problems obtaining blood, a quick test can become a prolonged misery. Some people have thicker skin than others – most finger-pricking systems have several different platforms allowing different depths of penetration of the lancet. Some trial and error will help you to find the right depth. If your fingers are cold you will have trouble obtaining blood. Squeezing the finger tip hard makes it sore and dilutes the blood with serum, giving an unduly low reading. So warm your hands before testing. Milk the blood up from the base of your finger. Another trick to increase blood flow is to shake your hand vigorously with the fingers downwards by your side. See your fingertips go pink. (This is rather like shaking the sauce bottle to get the last drops out!) People with thin skin or who bruise easily need less needle penetration so use a thicker platform. Your fingers should not become sore. If they are ask your diabetic specialist nurse for help.
Inaccurate results If you do not put the right amount of blood on the test strip you will not obtain an accurate answer. Smearing or dabbing invalidates the result as does drowning the pad in a giant drop. If you mistime the reaction the result will be meaningless – this includes failing to look at your watch or not pressing the button on the meter or biosensor immediately. Failure to press the biosensor button as soon as the blood touches the pad will lead to unduly low readings. Do not tilt the strip or biosensor while the blood drop is on the strip. Cold, heat, wind or rain can all make nonsense of the result by affecting the glucose oxidase (heat, cold) or by drying out (heat, wind) or diluting the blood drop (rain).John is 15. He has had diabetes since infancy. He always produces a neat diabetic diary. But his clinic glucose concentrations are always higher than his home tests. One day, away from the hospital, I saw him test his glucose. He pricked his finger, smeared some blood onto the test strip, counted up to sixty out loud, wiped the blood off on his trousers, counted up to sixty (faster this time) and glanced at the strip – “9,” he said, casually.
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