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Doubts over self-monitoring of Type 2 diabetes

Researchers are claiming that blood glucose self-monitoring for people with Type 2 diabetes who do not use insulin could be of little benefit, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) online today. 

Researchers from the University of Ulster who conducted the study also claim that the people with Type 2 diabetes who took part in the study and were self-monitoring showed higher levels of depression and anxiety. 

Another study by researchers from Oxford University, also published in the BMJ online, looked at the cost-effectiveness for the NHS of advocating self-monitoring for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Everyone is different

“More than 95 per cent of diabetes care is self-management", said Libby Dowling, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK. "For some people who control their Type 2 diabetes without insulin, it may not be necessary to test their own blood glucose levels; however every person with diabetes is different so decisions must be made on an individual basis.

“Self-monitoring must be accompanied by a structured education programme to teach people how and when to test, interpret results and take appropriate action. For many, self-monitoring informs the daily adjustments needed to effectively control diabetes.

Risk of complications

"Poorly controlled diabetes can increase the risk of complications such as heart disease, blindness and stroke, so short term cost savings made by reducing the number of people self-monitoring could be dangerous for the individual and lead to higher costs for the NHS in the long term. 

“In general, those who are self-monitoring are likely to be on more medication, have had Type 2 diabetes for longer and may already have serious complications. In addition, many people with diabetes are not sufficiently educated about self-monitoring. Any or all of these factors could lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, but it is unlikely to be the actual self-monitoring alone that is the cause of them.”

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