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AST Contents


Why is AST less painful?

Where can I use AST?

When is testing on the finger or palm at the base of the thumb preferred?

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AST links


Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is an important part of the treatment plan for people with diabetes. It helps you develop your individual blood glucose profile, so you and your health care team can plan your particular diabetes management regimen. It provides you with the ability to make day-to-day treatment choices with meal and physical activity as well as with oral agents and insulin, and it helps you recognize and understand the effect of lifestyle and diabetes medication on your diabetes control1.

More frequent self-monitoring has been associated with better glucose control, regardless of the diabetes type or therapy2. However, barriers to frequent testing include the pain associated with the required finger stick along with the accumulated trauma to the fingers. Recently, new glucose monitoring systems have been developed that allow you to obtain a blood sample from sites other than the finger to overcome this barrier.

The term alternate site testing (AST) means using parts of the body other than the finger tips to obtain blood for blood glucose testing.


  1. Benjamin, EM. Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose: The Basics. Clinical Diabetes, 20, #1, 45-47, 2002
  2. Karter, AJ, Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Levels and Glycemic Control: The Northern California Kaiser Permanente Diabetes Registry. The American Journal of Medicine, 111, #1, 1-9, 2002

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