How Much (Monitoring) is Too Much? (Part 2)

By David Spero | June 11, 2008 5:32 pm

Hey guys,

I went to the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Scientific Sessions in San Francisco this past weekend, courtesy of a Diabetes Self-Management press credential. It was fascinating. I’ll be writing about it for the next five weeks, but first to report the ADA’s view on blood glucose self-monitoring.


They had a session specially devoted to the British studies that cast doubt on self-monitoring for people with Type 2 diabetes, the ones we talked about last week (see “How Much (Monitoring) is Too Much?”[1]) The speakers were divided about how much self-monitoring people with Type 2 should do, if any.

In the question period, I brought up the experiences that our readers shared. Basically, as Nicky and Aubrey said in their comments on last week’s post, that people should monitor a lot at the beginning. You need to learn how foods, exercise, and meds affect you.

You also need to monitor when you’re changing things, like trying some new foods, as Delebra suggested. But once you know how things are going, you don’t have to check as much unless something changes.

I also mentioned what Philips and Pilbur wrote, that self-monitoring is what has enabled them to do well. But I think the bottom line is what Beth wrote: “I am all for individualizing blood glucose monitoring schedules. I think we should check blood glucose when we need the information it supplies.”

I still think that telling people to monitor, but not what the results mean or what to do about them, doesn’t help. I wonder how many of our frequent monitoring group were taught by their educators[2] or health-care providers and how many just picked it up for yourselves. It would be great to get some stories about your diagnosis[3] and early introduction to self-management. How much help did you get, and was it the good kind of help?

I went to conference sessions on protein, carbs[4], exercise[5], sex[6] (of course), communication between doctor and patient, prediabetes[7], and behavior change theories. So that’s what I’ll be writing about in coming weeks.

  1. “How Much (Monitoring) is Too Much?”:
  2. educators:
  3. diagnosis:
  4. carbs:
  5. exercise:
  6. sex:
  7. prediabetes:

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David Spero: David Spero has been a nurse for 40 years and has lived with multiple sclerosis for 30 years. He is the author of four books: The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness (Hunter House 2002), Diabetes: Sugar-coated Crisis — Who Gets It, Who Profits, and How to Stop It (New Society 2006, Diabetes Heroes (Jim Healthy 2014), and The Inn by the Healing Path: Stories on the road to wellness (Smashwords 2015.) He writes for Diabetes Self-Management and Pain-Free Living (formerly Arthritis Self-Management) magazines. His website is His blog is

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