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Type 2 diabetes: Value of home blood sugar monitoring unclear

July 24, 2017

About the Author

photo of Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio
View all posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD


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September 15, 2017

I was in the exact situation as you are right now. I have been suffering from Diabetic pains for a long while now.

August 27, 2017

I am a diabetic, I was first diagnosed with diabetes two years ago, I bought a guide from online 7 steps health approach , it given a dramatic results in my life , i have been taken off the insulin and other diabetes medication, i recommended to read the
full guide from here>> ( )
all the best have a great day

September 15, 2017

I very much recognize your situation. Have you tried PeaPlex

Janet Mennies
July 31, 2017

How about those of us with pre-diabetes (A1C 5.6-6.4% range)? Insurance will not cover the cost of monitoring supplies unless we get the diagnosis of diabetes. My doctor asked me to monitor, and although it took me 3 years, I was able to get it down from 5.9 to 5.4% thanks to the feedback I got from fasting and 2 hour post-meal blood measurements at home. There are just too many unanswered questions in the study described above to write off the importance of home glucose monitoring.

Kathy Vannoy, MS, RDN, LD
July 31, 2017

Absolutely–I agree, it’s not time to quit testing.

Congratulations on getting your A1C down.

I have type 2 diabetes and found an off brand meter (with suggestion from my diabetes educator), Prodigy Pocket. There are a number of others.

The meter is about $12 and 50 strips are about $10.

Because my blood sugars were fairly stable, I started the new meter and know the meter runs lower than my previous name brand meter.

Although you can’t make direct correlations with results from other meter, it’s still very helpful.

I know what my new “normals” are and when it’s running high.

I encourage people to talk to their doctor and/or diabetes educator to find a meter that will work best for them., not just for finances, but for the more “accurate results” when needed.

If I was on insulin or other medication that could cause low blood sugars, I would stick to the original name brand meter because the numbers are a little more exact.

Keep up the good work.

Kathy Vannoy, MS, RDN, LD
July 31, 2017

I hear ya. Strips are so expensive. There are “main line” meters that have a tighter range for readings. Those are essential if you’re on insulin or medication that can cause low blood sugars.

Other “off brand” meters sometimes have a wider range of readings.

I checked with my diabetes educator and she suggested trying an off brand. My pharmacy was selling Prodigy Pocket–$12 for meter and $10 for 50 strips. Readings run lower than the name brand meter I was using before but I know what my new “normal range” is so I shouldn’t get any surprises when my A1C is tested again.

Good luck!

cheryl perkins
July 25, 2017

Eat to your meter. In other word, cut your carbs according to how high your reading is. If you just take your blood sugar – and don’t change your behavior to bring the next number down, yes, it would be useless.
I could not have my low 5 A1c without my meter.
Also, it would help a lot if meters were more accurate. The allowed 20 percent away from true value is ridiculous at this point.

July 25, 2017

I’m pretty sure that monitoring my blood glucose levels hasn’t really been all that effective in controlling my “Sugar”, except in the sense that it helped prove to me that diet and exercise could work to keep me healthy.

I don’t know that researchers fully understand the despair and uncertainty a newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic goes through. Being able to see how variations in my new regimen affected my blood glucose levels was a real help in finding my path, and kept me from giving up in frustration.

Karim Miteff
July 24, 2017

This article is insane. Once a day glucose monitoring is not sufficient to determine trends or adjust diet properly in any sort of diabetic patient. When you continuous glucose monitoring becomes non-invasive and I expensive, as simple as a fitnit reading let’s say, type 2 diabetes will reduce in incidence dramatically, along with the end of the fast food and sugary beverage industries.

The the individual above who saw his readings jump to 140, if he was measuring only once a day, he missed out on managing his disease more aggressively, only accelerating his adoption of insulin. I am wondering if his fasting insulin level was ever checked and did it ever go back to normal? Type 2 diabetes is simply not treated or managed properly in the majority of patients, especially here in the U.S. It is a travesty.

Kathy Vannoy MS, RDN, LD
July 31, 2017

I agree with Karim.

This “treatment” has “No effect” because it is ineffective from the start.

With no insulin treatment, it’s helpful to test twice a day to look for patterns with usual foods, testing before and after meals to see what’s happening. On insulin, of course, you need to test more frequently.

This study would be very interesting to repeat with different parameters. I worked 12 years as dietitian and diabetes educator. The past 18 months I have lived with type 2 diabetes.

Self-monitoring was invaluable to my clients and now for me.

Why not repeat the experiment, but have people test different times of day or number of tests (at least twice a day). That would be interesting.

Maybe for people NOT on insulin, Twice a day is enough vs 4-6 times per day.

I can’t imagine NOT testing my blood sugar. Who wants a big bad surprise on their A1C the next time they go for a check up.

Mik Sohn
July 24, 2017

Whoever reached this conclusion must be out of his mind. Anyone who has diabetes type 2 knows that self-monitoring at least once a day in the early stages under oral medication and twice a day under insulin is a must to keep track of one’s body’s reaction to diet and medication. When my morning measurements started creeping up into the 140’s – 160’s at maximum oral dosages, I knew that it was time for insulin, and my doctor agreed with me. Had I not done the daily measurements and waited another three months for my next doctor’s visit, the excess glucose would’ve done irreparable harm to my system.

Kathy Vannoy
July 31, 2017

Ditto. What you said.

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