LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

My Photo
Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Saturday Share #10

Did you know that health topics are the number one internet search item, outstripping even porn? Uh… pardon the Freudian slip there...

So to do my part in trying to keep internet health information correct I’ve been two-timing my blog by writing over at
Sharecare were I am one of their “Experts” answering diabetes questions posted by readers.

I’m having a blast, and I’ve decided that every week I’m going to share one of my favorite questions with you here.

Sharecare Question: Where on my body can I do the diabetes test?

My “Expert” answer: Many meters are FDA approved for “alternate site” testing, commonly on the forearm. The idea is that this type of testing is less painful than lancing fingertips.

However, they are not approved by yours truly. :-(

And to explain why, we have to talk about cops. It used to be that when police cadets were trained to use their guns they lined up in a nice neat row, standing straight and tall, drew their pistols, and fired at paper targets. They were taught to “pocket” their expended cartridges when reloading to keep the shooting range nice and neat.

Or at least that’s how they were trained up until a notorious shootout about three decades ago when an armed felon gunned down four cops. One of the deceased was found with empty shells in his pocket. In a life and death shoot out he seemly took time to put his expended cartridges in his pocket; a delay that may well have cost him his life.

In the aftermath of the incident, studies of how people react under stress were undertaken in earnest. It turns out that when the you-know-what hits the fan people fall back on their training and habits. Even when they should know better.

Now, strange bit of blood sugar trivia. The blood in the tips of your fingers carries the most accurate and up-to-date information. Blood sugar in your forearm is old news, sometimes as much as 20 minutes out-of-date. If you use alternate sites to test your blood sugar, you are getting old news. Much of the time this does not matter.

Unless your blood sugar is dropping quickly, which can possibly be life threatening. The folks that make the meters will warn you not to test on your arm if you suspect you are dropping, but guess what? Under stress, with dropping blood sugar (which tends to make us less mentally sharp anyway), what do you think you are going to do? Yep.

You’ll resort to your training. Your ingrained habits. My feeling is, don’t get into bad habits under sunny skies and you won’t resort to them in stormy weather. You don’t want to be putting shell casings in your pocket when a low blood sugar is gunning for you.

You can check out other Expert’s answers to this question, and my answers to many more questions by going here:

Then select the “Answers” tab near the top left.


Blogger Unknown said...

I have wondered about "alternate site testing" over the years. I know that for pediatrics it is not recommended. This was great advice. Thank you Wil!

7:57 PM  
Anonymous sysy said...

I didn't know this! I'm such a nerd...I got lost with the cop talk for a moment and then when I finished reading was like...OH! I know what you did there! lol

Nice job answering this question in an entertaining fashion.

9:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home