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Ten Good Reasons to Hate Blood Glucose Monitoring
(And What to Do About Them)

by William H. Polonsky, PhD, CDE

3. Checking your blood glucose reminds you that you have diabetes. No one wants to worry about his diabetes all the time. But some people feel so upset about living with diabetes that they work hard to avoid ever thinking about it. If you feel this way, the act of monitoring can become an in-your-face reminder that “yes, you still have diabetes,” so you don’t do it. And instead of learning to use blood glucose information to manage your diabetes more successfully, you view it simply as irritating and unwelcome feedback. If you avoid monitoring, it is possible to go for many hours or even days without having to think about diabetes at all.

4. Your meter seems to control your life. If you are feeling constantly pushed around by your meter, it may seem reasonable to stop monitoring. You might not like to check before meals, for example, because a high blood glucose reading makes you feel that you cannot eat as much as you really want. Or you might not like to check before exercising because a low blood glucose reading means that you have to eat something before you exercise. A low blood glucose reading before driving means that you should not drive until you bring your blood glucose level up.

Rather than seeing these numbers as simple information on which you can take some corrective action, you see your blood glucose readings as commands from your meter that limit your freedom. And few grown-ups like to be told what to do, especially by a puny little machine.

5. Monitoring serves as an opportunity for your friends and family to bother you. If diabetes is a private matter for you, frequent monitoring (especially if done in public view) could lead to conversations that you would prefer to avoid. You might be reluctant to check regularly because you fear that your loved ones will “butt in” on your diabetes management. You worry that your friends and family will blame you (“You obviously did something terribly wrong! You’re probably eating too much”), offer stupid advice (“Y’know, this wouldn’t happen if you’d just develop some willpower!”), or worse, if they see a high or low reading. If you worry that regular monitoring will lead to bad feelings at home, a loss of personal control over your own diabetes care, or family arguments, it would seem reasonable to avoid checking your blood glucose as much as possible.

6. None of your health-care providers ever do anything with the results anyway. If your doctor doesn’t bother looking at your blood glucose records at all, or if he examines them only superficially (“Hmmm, nothing really interesting here, so let’s just keep observing your sugars over the next few months and see what happens”), why would you keep monitoring?

Blood glucose readings can be used to fine-tune your diabetes self-care. The feedback they provide can help you make decisions about diet, insulin, exercise, and other parts of life. But if you don’t know how to use the information, and your doctor isn’t actively using it either, checking your blood glucose might seem like a huge waste of time.

7. Checking blood glucose sometimes hurts. It’s true that recent technological advances (slimmer lancets and a laser lancet, for example) mean that there is much less pain associated with monitoring than ever before. If you’re checking correctly, it should be relatively painless most of the time. However, there are those occasions when you will strike a tender spot, and it will hurt. (Tip: If it hurts most of the time, remember to prick the sides of your fingers, where there are fewer nerve endings, not the central pads, where there are lots of nerve endings.) If you check your blood glucose a lot, your fingers can get sore or irritated, especially if you get dirt in those teeny holes. And even the sight of those little puncture marks can be upsetting.

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

 

 

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