When using a blood glucose monitor, it is important to get the most accurate readings possible to gain meaningful insight into your health and detect patterns in your blood glucose levels. The FDA mandates that results from self-monitoring blood glucose systems be within 15% of lab results 95% of the time. But accuracy doesn’t depend just on the capabilities of the monitor; it also depends on how the user performs a test. This includes where you choose to collect your blood sample from.
So which finger is best to test blood sugar? It depends. Read on to find out more.
Why Finger-Prick Testing?
Finger-prick tests are typically the best way to monitor your blood glucose levels. Plentiful capillaries or small blood vessels in the fingertips make them bleed well and reliably produce samples for testing. Blood samples taken from a fingertip will show blood sugar level changes faster than those taken from other areas of the body due to the increased blood flow in the fingertips. After a carb-heavy meal, for example, a finger-prick test will show blood sugar increases much sooner than a test from your forearm.
However, not all finger-prick tests will produce the same results, even if taken at the same time. This is, in part, because samples will vary slightly due to the differing amounts of cells and interstitial fluid (the fluid between the cells) they contain. This means that if you do multiple tests back-to-back using the same finger, the results can be slightly different.
To support accurate finger-prick testing, always wash your hands with soap and water before testing. This removes any residue that could affect results and warms the finger to make getting a blood sample easier. While slight variations like those mentioned above are natural, residue from food or even incompletely dried hands can create significant inaccuracy in your test results.
Which Finger Is Best to Test Blood Sugar?
People living with diabetes rely on frequent blood glucose testing to properly monitor and manage their health. For some, that means obtaining blood samples up to 10 times a day. So which finger is best to test blood sugar if you want the most accurate results in the easiest way possible?
The answer: it depends. Some people use a different finger each time to prevent soreness and callusing. Others find that a particular finger works best and uses that finger repeatedly. They may prefer to test on a callused finger, as calluses can decrease sensitivity.
Consider the following:
Blood sample quantity is also a factor when deciding which finger is best to test blood sugar. After pricking your finger with the lancet, you should need to apply only slight pressure to release blood flow. If you need to apply a lot of pressure to produce a sample, that finger may not be the best testing site for you. Squeezing or milking the finger can contaminate the sample and lead to inaccurate results.
To prepare for testing, massage the finger you plan to use and squeeze gently from the base of the finger to the fingertip a few times. This warms the finger and encourages blood flow. You can also run your finger under warm water to bring blood to the surface. Once this is complete, thoroughly clean your finger with soap and dry it before testing.
Blood Glucose Testing Made Simple
Routine blood glucose testing can be a tedious and time-consuming process, especially when you have to check your blood sugar multiple times a day. But it doesn’t have to be.
The POGO Automatic® Monitor is a simple and discreet way to check your blood sugar. In one step, the POGO Automatic lances your finger and automatically collects blood. Because the lancets and test strips are built into the cartridge that you pop into the monitor, there’s only one thing to carry, making it easy to test on the go. And you can use either hand for testing, which means you have more flexibility when choosing which finger to use for testing.
Which finger is best to test blood sugar ultimately comes down to personal preference. The POGO Automatic ensures the testing process is easy, efficient, and accurate, no matter which finger you choose.
Robert Miller is a customer experience specialist committed to helping people navigate the world of diabetes. He focuses on finding innovative tools and strategies that make diabetes management easier to support long-term wellness.
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