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Diabetes Testing That Is Even More Gentle

Three months ago I reviewed Genteel’s new “gentle lancing instrument” here at “Gentle Testing for Diabetes.” The company claims right on the box that it gives us “blood testing without pain!”

In all my experience with the device this is no exaggeration. It has improved the quality of my life and that of other people with diabetes who test their blood sugar.

It was a great device. But the company has already changed it.

“Our engineering department has continued to tweak and refine the product, as engineers are inclined to do,” Genteel’s Anita Matthews wrote me at the beginning of the month. “Coupled with months of customer feedback as well, Genteel is now better and stronger than ever!”

She sent me a replacement device. It looks exactly the same as the original lancing instrument and I can’t tell any difference in how well it works. But I’ll take her word for it that the company’s engineers have made some improvements.

Since I know that people with diabetes bought the original device on the basis of my review here, my first request was for the company to give the same free upgrade to my readers.

Genteel would be happy to honor my request, Ms. Matthews replied. “All they have to do is contact us directly, at [email protected], and we’ll take care of the rest. We would like to request an expiration date of October 31, 2014, for this replacement so as to avoid any possible confusion with other orders.”

Along with this upgrade offer, Genteel is requesting feedback on two new testing techniques:

1. Some people are able to re-draw from the same test site repeatedly throughout the day without using a lancet more than once. Just test normally once in the morning, then remove the lancet or store it in reverse in the lancing device’s receptacle, then go back over the same test site and hit the activation button. The vacuum alone can draw another sample without re-lancing. Applying a warm cloth over the test area helps, Ms. Matthews tells me.

In my experience I have sometimes been able to re-draw without re-lancing. But too often I forget the precise place where I tested originally. Maybe I need to use a magic marker!

2. Finally, Genteel is running tests to see if testing on the fleshy part of the back side of the thumb (a part of the palm) would be the same as testing on fingertips. “As far as we know this has not been tested before as there has been no lancing device that could draw blood accurately from that area and control the depth with the precision of Genteel,” Ms. Matthews tells me.

The question is whether glucose levels change as quickly in this location (see this elegant drawing attached) as on the fingertips. The usual alternative sites on our arms can have a  lag of up to 20 minutes — see my 2001 article “Lag Time in AlternativeLand.” But Genteel’s initial tests indicate that the bottom part of the thumb seems to track the same as fingertips.

If your blood sugar isn’t changing rapidly or if doesn’t change for you when testing on this part of the palm, this could help. But I will continue to use the Genteel for pain-free testing on my fingertips.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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