Alternate Site Testing Expert Advice on Diabetes Lifestyle

Alternate Site Testing Expert Advice on Diabetes Lifestyle

Q. Are results from alternate site blood glucose testing as accurate as results from fingertip testing?

According to recent studies, it depends on when you’re testing. If you’re testing before meals when fasting or two hours or more after meals or exercise, the accuracy of alternate-site testing results are on par with those of fingertip test results.

However, alternate site readings lag behind fingertip readings when testing immediately after exercise (when blood sugar levels are decreasing) or within an hour of eating (when blood sugars are increasing). That’s because glucose utilization in the fingertips is faster than in the arms or other sites, and using alternate sites to test blood glucose at these times might not detect hypoglycemia or sharp changes in blood glucose level in a timely manner.

If you do get a low reading at an alternate site, you should confirm it with a fingerstick check before treating hypoglycemia. Regardless of its limitations, many people find alternate-site testing a reprieve from the pain of constant fingersticks.

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