After being first diagnosed with diabetes, there can often be a range of emotions. How could I have prevented this? What will my life be like? What will my friends think? I HATE needles – how am I supposed to poke myself on a daily basis?
For those with diabetes, monitoring blood glucose levels is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. Blood glucose levels can be checked through a finger prick, a simple and effective way to obtain a blood sample for glucose testing.
All of these questions are compounding on top of the already overwhelming concept of all these different supplies and costs and how to manage all of this. Your endocrinologist and your Diabetes Educator will explain much of these products as they all have their preferences – but what often gets overlooked is the lancet – the ONLY product in the kit that has the potential to cause physical pain!
What Is A Lancet?
Lancets are small plastic cylinders that contain a sterile steel needle held within a lancing device. The lancet needle is used to poke a small hole in the skin of a finger for a blood sample to check blood glucose levels. Lancets are most commonly used by people with diabetes.
Different Type Of Lancing Devices/Finger Prickers
There are hundreds of different “brands” of diabetes lancets, but at the end of the day they all boil down to practically two varieties – Traditional Lancets vs Pip Lancets. In this article, we explore the differences and pros and cons of the two types.
First, let’s look at the most common type of lancet that is available on the market today and what is presented 99% of the time in meeting with Certified Diabetes Educators.
What is a traditional lancet?
Traditional lancets are what we commonly think of when we hear the term “Lancet”. Other common names are “pokers”, “needles”, or “lancers”. Quite simply, they are a molded piece of plastic with a round cap. Underneath the round cap is a sharp needle. To expose the needle, simply twist off the round plastic cap.
Lancets are small plastic cylinders that contain a sterile steel needle held within a lancing device. The lancet needle is used to poke a small hole in the skin of a finger for a blood sample to check blood glucose levels. Lancets are most commonly used by people with Type 2 diabetes.
How it works
A traditional diabetes lancet can be used entirely on its own by simply jabbing the needle into your finger just enough to get a blood drop, but doing so can be quite painful. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of people prefer to use lancets in conjunction with a “lancing device” or a “lancer”.
A new lancet should be used for each finger prick for a clean lancet. Do not reuse the same lancet because it can become dull and may cause more pain and bleeding. The lancet needle is very tiny and thin making it prone to bending after one use.
- Start by washing your hands with soap and water to prevent infections
- Turn the glucose meter on and insert the test strip
- Open the cap of the lancing device
- Load in the unused lancet
- Twist off the round cap to expose the needle
- Recap the lancing device
- Adjust the depth setting – this will specify the puncture depth into your skin
- Cock the device
- Place the lancing device on your finger
- Click the button to fire the lancet
- Gently squeeze fingertip to produce adequate blood sample. Then follow glucose meter instructions to test your blood sugar.
- After use, remove the lancing device cap again.
- Recap the lancet with the round cap.
- Carefully remove the used lancet from the lancing device and place in a sharps container or hard plastic container – like a laundry detergent bottle.
Most traditional lancets are generic in design and therefore are compatible with a wide variety of lancing devices. But some brands of lancets are only compatible with their own lancing device. A few examples of the latter are: Softclix lancets, Multiclix, etc.
Practically all regular lancets are compatible with any type of glucose meter.
Not Are All Lancets Are Universal To All Lancet DevicesSome lancets are universal, but not all of them. Rounded in shape are common, while others are square shapes. Your lancet fit must into your lancet device. Some lancets are single-use while others come in groups called Multiclix.
Features to Check When Selecting a Lancet Device
You should look for lancets and devices with small needle gauge sizes and those that allow for easy and safe disposal. Self-contained units are the safest. They come is different colors and sizes.
The first lancets made were 23 and 25 gauge. Today, the most commonly used lancets are sizes 28 or higher.
The higher the gauge number, the small, thinner the needle. A higher gauge (smaller diameter) will result in less pain but may not penetrate thick skin
Where to Purchase a Lancing Device
Traditional lancets are widely available over the counter at your local pharmacy or online. The costs vary widely across the board. From very inexpensive to quite costly.
The primary benefit to traditional lancets is cost. If you use a clean lancet on each test and you shop around a little bit, you’ll probably be able to find lancets for about $0.05 each – or $5 per 100 lancets – which comes out to about $3 per month if you test an average of twice per day. However, if you like to reuse your needles, then you can use regular lancets practically for free – a $5 box of 100 could potentially last you the rest of your life.
Pip Lancets - Safety Lancets
The other option which is commonly not mentioned in meetings with your diabetes educator, is a Pip Lancet, or safety lancet. Pip is a hospital-grade product which has historically only been provided in hospitals but is now available to anyone.
What is a Pip Lancet?
Pip Lancets are a single-use, 2-in-1 device that eliminate 80% of the steps associated with traditional lancets, provide for safer disposal, and typically eliminate the pain and anxiety associated with regular lancets.
Pip Lancets feature a body, with a twist off cap, and a pre-loaded – but never exposed – retractable needle on the interior of the device.
While traditional diabetic lancets require the use of an additional “lancing device”, Pip Lancets are 2-in-1. So there is no additional device needed to draw blood.
The steps to use Pip lancets are as follows:
- Twist off the white cap
- Apply pressure to the fingertip to activate the needle
- Gently squeeze fingertip to produce sufficient blood sample. Then follow glucose meter instructions to test your blood sugar.
- Discard of used lancet – after use the needle is not exposed, but we still recommend a sharps container or plastic container for good measure.
Taking A Blood Sample
Like regular diabetes lancets, Pip Lancets are compatible with ALL glucose meters.
Because the device is all-in-one, the user need not worry about compatibility with other lancing devices.
Pip Lancets are available for purchase on our website or from Amazon.com. We also have lancet subscriptions available. When purchased from PipLancets.com – you will receive a significantly discounted Starter Pack which will include some of each size and a carry case – all for just $9.95.
Pip Lancets are not currently available in retail pharmacies because it is a relatively new product. We hope to change this in the future!
Pip Lancets are priced at $0.15 per lancet sold at a price of $14.95 per 100 lancets – or $9 per month if you test an average of twice per day – about $6 more per month than regular lancets.
Managing Diabetes is Essential for Living a Healthy Life.
To manage diabetes, it is critical to monitor blood glucose levels regularly. One of the easiest ways to monitor blood glucose levels is by using a glucose meter and a lancing device.
The Significance of Checking Blood Glucose Levels.
For individuals with diabetes, regular blood sugar testing is essential for managing the condition and preventing long-term complications. Here are some key factors that can influence blood sugar levels:
Diet: The food we eat affects our blood sugar levels. Foods high in carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and sugar, can cause blood glucose levels to rise rapidly.
Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can help improve blood glucose control. Excess body fat can make it more difficult for insulin to work effectively, leading to higher blood sugar levels.
Exercise: Physical activity can help lower your sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. Regular exercise can also help with weight management and overall health.
Performance in Sports: Athletes with diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose levels closely during exercise to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and ensure optimal performance.
Finger Pricker for Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels
The finger pricker, also known as a lancing device, is a tool used to collect a small blood sample for glucose testing. It is a common and convenient method for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels at home.
According to a study published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, blood samples taken from the fingertip are just as accurate as samples taken from other parts of the body, such as the forearm. However, individuals with poor circulation, sore fingers, or neuropathy should lance alternative areas of the body.
What is a Finger Prick?
A finger prick is a simple and effective way to obtain blood samples for glucose testing. A lancet, like Accu Chek Fastclix, is used to prick the skin on the finger, allowing a small amount of blood to be collected for testing.
Finger pricks can be performed by your doctor, healthcare professionals, or individuals with diabetes at home using a lancing device. Lancing devices can usually set the lancet depth to draw blood and help reduce pain. Most people get used to having sore fingers from pricking them to draw sufficient blood for the test kits.
Lancet devices are typically spring-loaded and use sharp lancets to draw blood. The spring action also helps reduce pain while delivering the right amount of blood flow. It will still hurt, but most people get used to the pain of pricking their fingers to draw blood. To avoid infection, wipe your finger with alcohol before pricking it, and never reuse a lancet.
Why Do People With Diabetes Use Finger Stick Tests?
People diagnosed with diabetes use finger stick tests with a blood glucose monitor to check their blood glucose levels. Regular blood tests with a blood glucose device are essential for individuals with diabetes to maintain good health and lower the risk of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
Finger prick tests can be performed at home with a lancet device, allowing individuals with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels more frequently and adjust their treatment accordingly. There are different ways for patients to check their sugar levels, and a doctor can offer assistance in choosing the correct blood glucose monitor.
What Are Blood Sugar Levels?
Blood sugar levels refer to the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a type of sugar that is the body's primary source of energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin therapy can help treat high blood sugar.
In individuals with diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin or use insulin effectively, leading to high blood sugar levels. Excess sugar in the blood is converted into fat, so monitoring sugar levels is helpful for weight loss.
What Are the Benefits of Blood Sugar Monitoring?
Regular blood sugar monitoring can help individuals with diabetes maintain good health and prevent complications. By monitoring blood sugar levels, individuals with diabetes can adjust their treatment plans, including diet, exercise, and medication, to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range.
Monitoring blood sugar levels can also help individuals with diabetes detect and respond to high or low blood sugar levels quickly.
How to Reduce the Fingertip Pain From a Blood Glucose Monitor?
Seeing our loved ones struggle with a fear of needles after years of blood sugar monitoring motivated us to provide Pip Lancets to whomever needs them. These are painless lancets that have a concealed needle, meaning that they not only reduce the pain of the actual finger prick, but prevent accidental exta pricks.
How Often Should a Lancet Be Changed?
Lancets are designed for single use. It is recommended to replace the used lancet with a sterile lancet after every use to prevent infection.
What are Lancing Devices?
Lancing devices prick your fingers to get a small blood sample to check blood glucose levels. A lancing device can be manual or automatic and will come with disposable lancets (needles) that are inserted into the device
.A lancing device uses a lancet to puncture the skin. Most lancing devices use spring-loaded mechanisms with depth settings to reduce pain and make the process more comfortable for the patients.
What Type of Device Should I Use?
There are many different types of lancing devices available in the market. It depends on your personal preference and what your doctor recommends. Pip Lancets are a painless, medical grade finger pricker lancet that we offer to simplify your monitoring process.
How Can a Lancing Device Help Monitor My Blood Glucose Levels?
A lancing device is a tool used to perform a finger prick blood test at home. Lancing devices are easy to use and can help individuals with diabetes monitor their blood glucose levels more frequently. The device uses a small needle or lancet to prick the skin of a finger, allowing just enough blood to be collected for testing.
Lancing devices are available in various sizes, and some devices offer adjustable depth settings to allow for more comfortable and less painful testing.
How Do You Use a Home Blood Glucose Meter?
Using a home blood glucose meter is easy and straightforward. First, wash your hands with soap and warm water, then insert a test strip into the meter. Next, use a lancing device to prick your finger and apply a small drop of blood to the test strip. The meter will display your blood glucose level within seconds.
Being newly diagnosed with diabetes and having to learn all the ins and outs of all the different products that are required and/or available can be overwhelming. But when it comes to lancet choices, the options are fairly simple. It’s up to you to determine which is the best lancet that fits your lifestyle and is easiest for you.