Diabetes Glucose Testing

Here’s important news for people with a disease that’s becoming more common every day. Most people with Type 2 diabetes don’t need to test their blood as often as they do now. A new study shows frequent self-monitoring of blood-glucose levels – which is commonplace among diabetics – actually provides little practical benefit to most patients who do not use insulin.

The study analyzed earlier research that compared more than 2000 diabetes patients who monitored their blood glucose with those who did not.

Those who self-monitored had only marginally fewer complications. Over a 40-year period, 36.5 per cent of those who did not self-monitor suffered a heart attack, compared to 36.2 per cent of those who self-monitored at least daily. The results were similar for other common complications such as stroke, amputation, blindness and kidney failure.

All told, using test strips for 40 years translates into an additional gain of about six days of life, the research showed. But that benefit comes at a substantial cost. The test strips cost about $1 each, and the constant self-monitoring can cause a lot of anxiety.

Bottom line the researchers say, beyond the insulin group, frequent self-monitoring is of little benefit, and cutting back would save the government and private drug plans hundreds of millions of dollars.

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