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1 In 7 Type 2 Diabetes Patients Needlessly Test Blood Sugar At Home

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For most type 2 diabetics, testing blood sugar at home has become a habit. However, a new study argues that some patients need not do this self-monitoring too often.

A study conducted on over 370,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that 23 percent claimed from their insurance for the test strips used to self-check blood sugar levels at home. However, experts said that the patients don't need to prick their fingers frequently, especially if they don't take medications that cause the blood sugar to drop.

The research, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that 14 percent of the number tested their blood sugar unnecessarily. Moreover, it was already established that people with type 2 diabetes don't actually benefit from the frequent monitoring.

"More is not always better when it comes to medical care," lead author Kevin Platt of University of Michigan said.

Blood Sugar Test A Waste Of Time And Money

The over testing of blood sugar at home does not only mean a waste of time, but it is also financially worrisome and causes unneeded poking, which sometimes may be stressful for some diabetics. Of the people who practice unnecessary blood tests at home, 33,000 were on medications that didn't cause low blood sugar while 19,000 were not taking any diabetes drugs.

Fifty percent of the people who poked their fingers and dripped blood on strips usually do this for at least two times a day, and the half have expenses on blood sugar tests amounting to at least $325 per year.

The cost may not be burdensome for other patients but the figures proved that over checking blood sugar in homes was common. Platt also pointed out that diabetics who didn't have insurance had to shell out of their pockets just to buy strips.

Guidelines On Blood Sugar Checking

This is a nod to the guidelines issued by the Endocrine Society, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Society of General Internal Medicine to the physicians, saying that certain types of diabetics do not need blood sugar tests regularly.

However, Platt, who took interest on his patients' meticulous note-taking of their blood sugar for the past years upon check-ups, explained that every diabetics' case is different and urged patients to seek physicians' advice first.

Most type 2 diabetes patients kept their blood sugar levels at bay by taking oral medicines and not insulin. Those who opt to take shots of insulin are required to monitor regularly, Platt said.

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