Finger-stick blood sugar test may not help T2D patients who don’t use insulin
Researchers at University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine have found that blood glucose testing doesn’t pose an advantage in A1C control or quality of life for patients with Type II diabetes who aren’t treated with insulin. The team’s work was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The team reported that many Type II diabetes patients, even those who aren’t treated with insulin, are recommended glucose monitoring with a finger-stick test by their doctors and there is an ongoing debate over whether glucose monitoring is effective in controlling diabetes or improving a patient’s quality of life.
“Our study results have the potential to transform current clinical practice for patients and their providers by placing a spotlight on the perennial question, ‘to test or not to test?'” senior author Dr. Katrina Donahue said in prepared remarks.
The 450-patient study included 3 groups of participants – no blood sugar monitoring, once-daily glucose monitoring or once-daily glucose monitoring with an internet-delivered tailored message of encouragement or instruction.
At the end of 1 year, there were no significant differences in blood sugar control across the 3 groups, no significant differences in health-related quality of life and no notable differences in hypoglycemia, hospitalizations or ER visits.
“Of course, patients and providers have to consider each unique situation as they determine whether home blood glucose monitoring is appropriate,” Donahue said. “But the study’s null results suggest that self-monitoring of blood glucose in non-insulin treated Type II diabetes has limited utility. For the majority, the costs may outweigh the benefits.”