What is alternate site testing?
The term alternate site testing (AST) means using parts of the body other than the fingertips to obtain blood for blood glucose testing. Alternate site testing offers fingertip protection and less pain. Alternate site testing areas can be the upper arm, thigh, calf and the fleshy parts of the hand.
Various blood glucose meters offer alternate site testing in addition to finger-stick testing. Our blood glucose meter comparison chart shows which meters allow AST.
When should you alternate site test (AST)?
- In a pre-meal or fasting state (more than two hours since your last meal)
- Two hours or more after taking insulin
- Two hours or more after exercise
Whenever you feel that your glucose level is changing rapidly, the fingertip measurement is more accurate than alternate site testing. AST is not recommended for pregnant women. In addition, readings before meals are more accurate than after meals.
Remember: Fingerstick testing is still important.
Be sure to check your blood glucose monitor owner's manual and consult your healthcare professional or diabetes educator for information and instruction on alternate site testing.
Find comprehensive information in our Diabetes Center.
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