Over the last two decades it has been firmly established that tight glycaemic control is associated with a significant reduction in serious long-term diabetes-related complications. Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is an effective tool in the self-management of glucose levels in people with Type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes using insulin therapy and other medication that carries a risk of hypoglycaemia. It helps people with diabetes using insulin achieve tight glycaemic control and to identify low blood glucose levels before the development of severe hypoglycaemia.
The exact role of SMBG for people with type 2 diabetes who are not on insulin or medication that carries a risk of hypoglycaemia is less clear and has been widely debated. Critics say that there is no cost effective benefit, as highlighted in a 2012 systematic review. Supporters (including people with type 2 diabetes) say that there are significant quality of life and patient satisfaction benefits which empower people to self-manage their diabetes, and that these outcome measures were not measured in most of the studies evaluated.
Ultimately, the lack of clinical evidence does not mean there is no evidence but that it has not been possible to gather and interpret it. Therefore this paper explores the issues of importance concerning access to and appropriate use of SMBG by those who live with type 2 diabetes and how this can best be tackled in relation to the increasing costs associated with diabetes in the UK.
Download the full position statement on: Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) for adults with type 2 diabetes (PDF, 2MB).