There is a lot of contradiction when it comes to how many times patients with diabetes type II should check their blood sugar levels. Several opine that pricking fingers often for the blood tests is harmful. However, regularly testing sugar levels is still important for patients.
Here is more on this vital debate:
The Two Sides of the Debate
The American Academy of Family Physicians, the Endocrine Society, and the Society of General Internal Medicine encourage patients to test their levels of blood sugar less instead of more.
However, on the other side of the coin are decades of patient education that teach that patients with diabetes type II should check their blood sugar often. After all, testing is still a part of saving eyesight, limbs as well as the kidney function among people with diabetes.
A recent study, appearing in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal adds to this debate. It concluded that 14% of the patients with type II diabetes test their sugar levels very often. This is very concerning for healthcare professionals who treat their diabetes type II diabetes daily.
What Does The Latest Study Say?
The study learned that participants who don’t need insulin were buying strips for testing blood sugar levels twice or more than two times a day. Medical guidelines state that this is unnecessary.
The report states that people who don’t need insulin or are on metformin, don’t need to check their blood sugar levels as their sugar markers are still in the healthy range. In other words, people who are not prescribed to take blood sugar-lowering medication once diagnosed don’t need to check their blood levels so often.
This conclusion reached by the report is based on the assumption that every patient who is on metformin has healthy HbA1c and blood sugar levels. The A1c reading provides an average of where your blood sugar levels have been in the past three months.
It is important to note here that blood sugar levels are not steady for the entire day. The levels fluctuate owing to stress, the balance of carbs, proteins, and fats that you consume, and diabetes-related medications.
The unsteady levels can also be due to non-diabetes related medication. For example, cortisone injections can raise your blood sugar levels. These changes cannot be detected without a glucometer, test strips, and so on.
Moving Forward: How Often Should You Test Blood Sugar Levels?
Testing blood sugar levels in patients of diabetes type II is critical due to the fluctuations in the sugar levels as mentioned above. What’s more, you can only tell if a medication is helping keep the sugar levels steady by monitoring the sugar levels. This sets the needs for testing.
So how many times should you check your sugar level? For those on metformin and similar medication, it is fine to check blood sugar levels multiple times in a day. However, if these levels become consistent over the months, then you can reduce the times you check your blood sugar.