People With Type 2 Diabetes Do Benefit From Blood Sugar Checks
-- Personalized blood sugar self-monitoring benefits people with type 2
diabetes even if they're not taking insulin, a new small study shows.
Some experts have questioned the value of self-monitoring in this
group, and many insurers -- including Medicare -- limit the
reimbursement of blood sugar (glucose) testing strips to one a day for
people with type 2 diabetes.
This study included 11 people with type 2 diabetes who worked with
the researchers to create personalized, structured self-monitoring blood
glucose schedules. In most cases, self-monitoring twice a day was the
most helpful in providing meaningful information about blood sugar
However, there was room for individualization based on a patient's
type of lifestyle and needs. For example, a patient might check their
blood sugar twice a day three days a week instead of once a day seven
days a week, according to the study authors.
People were taught to react to their blood sugar levels readings in a number of ways, such as eating less or going for a walk.
The 11 patients in the study lowered their A1C levels -- a test that
measures average blood sugar levels for the past few months -- from an
average of 7.3 percent to 6.2 percent. The usual goal for people with
diabetes is to keep those levels below 7 percent, the researchers
"Most of the participants in the study were self-described 'country
folk' who found that they were able to control their diabetes. This
study helps doctors and nurses to understand how people with type 2
diabetes can benefit from [self-monitoring]," study author Dana
Brackney, a diabetes educator and an assistant professor of nursing at
Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., said in an American
Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) news release.
The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the AADE annual
meeting in New Orleans. Research presented at meetings is generally
viewed as preliminary until it has been published in a peer-reviewed
The results confirm that people with type 2 diabetes do respond to
the results of blood sugar self-monitoring tests, Dana Brackney noted.
"Participants in this study said that sticking to a regular
[self-monitoring] schedule really helped them to know where their blood
levels were and take appropriate action, such as adding physical
activity or choosing a healthy snack," Brackney said.
"They said it helped them accept that they had diabetes, but also
feel confident that they could control it rather than letting it control
them," she added.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about diabetes.