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For those who have diabetes, testing your blood sugar regularly can be an important aspect of controlling your blood sugar. There are different methods to obtain a blood sugar reading, including finger stick blood tests using a blood glucose monitor or by wearing a sensor for readings 24 hours a day, with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
A finger stick blood sugar test is the most common way for people with diabetes to get insight into how foods, medications, physical activity, and other variables affect their blood sugar levels, and how to take action. Therefore, understanding how to perform a finger stick blood test correctly and maintaining good testing habits is important for your diabetes self-care. Below we’ve outlined some tips to help you get started.
Blood pumping throughout your body transports a variety of essential nutrients your cells need, like oxygen and glucose. A finger stick blood test is an easy way to measure the number of certain substances in your blood, by making a small prick into your fingertip and collecting a blood sample into a specially designed test strip or into a thin tube for laboratory testing. These convenient, easy tests only require a small amount of blood.
Depending on the specific test being performed, a finger sticks blood test can be used to measure glucose, hemoglobin A1C, ketone, lactate levels, and more.
Why do people with diabetes use finger stick tests?
For people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, blood sugar levels are “self-monitored” with the use of a personal blood glucose meter and blood glucose test strips. Taking a finger stick test at home or on the go is a quick, cost-effective way to check blood sugar levels throughout the day and make any necessary treatment decisions, like dosing insulin.
Fingerstick tests may also be performed by a healthcare professional for assisted monitoring of blood sugar. This involves drawing a drop of blood from the fingertip with a single-use, auto-disabling finger stick device for testing in a clinical care setting. The finger-stick device in these settings may have a larger lancet size, which can sometimes cause slightly more pain compared to a finer lancet used when testing at home.