People who have Type 2 diabetes can reduce their blood sugar levels and otherwise gain benefits from a personalized blood sugar testing schedule even if they are not taking insulin, according to research presented at the 2015 American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting & Exhibition. An estimated 28 million people in the United States are living with Type 2 diabetes.
Although the American Diabetes Association recommends the use of blood glucose self-monitoring for people with Type 2 diabetes, there is currently not enough data to determine how it can be most effectively use in this population, and some researchers, insurers, and health-care providers have questioned whether it is necessary in those who are not using insulin. To better evaluate the role of blood sugar testing, researcher Dana E. Brackney, PhD, RN, CDE, and colleagues worked with 11 people with Type 2 diabetes to design structured, personalized monitoring schedules that would provide the most useful information to the subjects and their doctors.
Most people found checking twice a day to provide the most helpful information regarding their blood glucose levels relative to meals and activities, but there was room for individualization based on each person’s needs — checking twice a day three days a week instead of once a day seven days a week, for instance.
The participants would use the information they gained from each check by, for example, eating a little less or going for a walk, confirming that test results are indeed used to make positive changes. In line with making these positive changes, the participants lowered their A1C levels (a measure of blood glucose control over the previous 2–3 months) from an average of 7.3% to 6.2%.
“Participants in this study said that sticking to a regular [blood glucose 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,” noted study author Brackney. “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.”
Diabetes educators can play an important role in this process by helping people develop an individualized blood sugar testing plan and by helping them understand how to address potentially problematic blood sugar levels.
For more information, read the article “People With Type 2 Diabetes Do Indeed Benefit From Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring: Study” or see the study. And for more information about how to get the most out of monitoring your blood glucose with Type 2 diabetes, see the article Blood Glucose Monitoring: What’s In It for Type 2?” by certified diabetes educator Johanna Burani.