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Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels for adults with Type 1 diabetes (March 2017)

Most people with Type 1 diabetes need to keep their glucose levels within a target range to manage their condition day to day and to reduce the incidence of serious long-term diabetes related complications.

Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) levels is an integral part of treatment for everyone with Type 1 diabetes, and access to blood glucose testing strips and meters and /or flash glucose devices should not be restricted.

SMBG helps people using insulin to manage their glucose levels and identify low blood glucose levels before the development of severe hypoglycaemia.

Key point: 

  • Equipment for monitoring blood glucose and testing ketones should be made available to all adults with Type 1 diabetes, as agreed by their diabetes team in line with national guidance.
  • Access to self-monitoring devices should be based on individual needs and circumstances with the use and frequency of testing, and target blood glucose level agreed between the person with diabetes and diabetes healthcare team.
  • The geographical variation in access to all self-monitoring devices must be addressed. People should be encouraged to seek a review and challenge any restrictions to test strips, choice of meter and other devices if necessary.
  • Structured assessment of self-monitoring skills, the equipment used, and the quality and use of the results obtained should be performed at least annually, or more frequently according to need.
  • NICE should review their recommendations concerning access to flash and continuous glucose monitoring to reflect recent evidence and clinical consensus on diabetes technology for Type 1 diabetes.

We developed this position statement through a review of the current national guidelines on diabetes including clinical guidelines for adults with Type 1 diabetes. This position has been informed in light of availability of newer technology for monitoring glucose levels such as flash glucose monitoring devices as well as continuous glucose monitoring systems, and our consensus guidelines on Flash glucose monitoring and diabetes technology for Type 1 diabetes.

Download the full position statement on:Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) in adults with Type 1 diabetes (PDF, 1 MB). 

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