(Frequency of blood glucose monitoring in relation to glycaemic control: observational study with diabetes database)
People with diabetes do not self-monitor their glucose levels as often as they should, find researchers in this week's BMJ. Based on their study of diabetes sufferers in Tayside, Scotland, the authors of the paper find that self-monitoring of blood glucose levels is associated with the ability to achieve better control of blood sugar levels, in patients with type 1 diabetes (when a patient has an absolute deficiency of insulin) at least.
Dr Josie Evans and colleagues from Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee found that in their study of over 800 diabetic patients in the Tayside area of Scotland, many patients did not conduct any blood sugar testing and that less than one fifth tested their glucose levels daily. They report that frequency of testing depended on characteristics such as age and level of social deprivation and that patient groups who do not test their blood regularly should be identified and targeted to encourage better self-monitoring.
Evans et al report that their study has shown that there is a direct association between frequency of testing and improved control of blood sugar levels, thus making the self-monitoring even more important. They conclude that the average cost of glucose management per patient (409 per year for a patient who monitors their blood glucose four times a day) is still low when compared to the costs of treating patients with diabetic complications.