Scientists recently have found that many people with type 2 diabetes are testing their blood sugar more frequently than necessary.
The study from the University of Michigan found that 14% of people with type 2 diabetes who don’t require insulin are buying enough test strips to test their blood sugar two or more times a day.
However, medical guidelines say these low-risk patients needn’t test so frequently.
This excess testing is costing patients time and causing unnecessary worry, while insurance plans to pay hundreds of dollars a year to cover the excess supplies.
The study focused on people with type 2 diabetes who receive no benefit from daily tracking of blood sugar levels.
This includes patients who don’t take any medicines to reduce their blood sugar and those who take oral medicines that don’t require monitoring.
The researchers analyzed information from a national insurance database of 370,740 people with type 2 diabetes who were not taking insulin and who filled prescriptions for packets of 90 test strips three or more times a year.
The study found that more than 20% of patients who filled test strip prescriptions didn’t fill any prescriptions for diabetes medications, and an additional 43% filled prescription only for metformin or other medicines that didn’t carry a risk of hypoglycemia.
After patients find the dose of these medications needed to keep their sugar levels stable, they don’t need to do daily testing.
However, even though 63% of the patients who filled test strip prescriptions didn’t need to test daily, they were using an average of two test strips a day.
The researchers say that some people with type 2 diabetes may test frequently to keep tabs on how their diet, exercise, and medicine are affecting their sugar levels.
For those who are testing daily and don’t have to, their providers should tell them that they have the option to stop and offer more helpful tests that tell patients their average blood sugar level over the past two to three months.
The research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine and conducted by Kevin Platt et al.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies about a critical trigger for type 2 diabetes, and eating eggs in breakfast may control blood sugar.
For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about a better way to treat obesity and diabetes, and results showing this drug for inflammation may increase your diabetes risk within days.
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