Along with proper diet and exercise, ongoing monitoring of glucose levels can help diabetes patients manage their disease more effectively. However, many patients fail to monitor their blood sugar regularly. A survey by the American Diabetes Association produced the following surprising results:
- Over one-fifth of Type 1 diabetes patients never test their glucose levels at home.
- Of patients with Type 2 diabetes controlled by insulin, nearly half never tested their levels.
- For patients with Type 2 diabetes who did not use insulin, less than one-fourth checked their levels outside the doctor’s office.
In some cases, patients may need more information on glucose monitoring to understand its importance in controlling diabetes. Understanding the following three root causes of resistance to this necessary procedure can help physicians and patients to manage the symptoms and progress of this severe disease better.
1. Fear of blood or pain
In most cases, fingerstick testing requires only a small drop of blood; recent advances in lancet technology have made obtaining that small amount of blood more comfortable and less painful than ever before. Most patients report that the entire procedure is relatively painless and takes only a short time out of the day. Some patients may even be able to enlist the help of a friend or family member to help them manage the fingerstick itself; this can take some of the worry and stress out of obtaining the necessary drop of blood for the testing procedure.
Continuous monitoring systems require fingerstick testing for calibration purposes. However, these systems may also provide added comfort for patients and should be considered as an alternative to frequent fingerstick testing.
2. Lack of time
Finding the time to manage diabetes can be challenging. Busy patients may want to discuss the merits of a continuous meter with their physician. Some constant systems can be worn for up to a week straight. While daily calibration is still necessary, these devices can provide much-needed data to medical personnel without taking up too much valuable time. By setting up a schedule for calibrating the system and performing necessary testing, patients can often work this essential medical procedure into their daily routine.
For some patients, the entire process of monitoring and maintaining records of blood sugar readings can be embarrassing and may call attention to their illness. Newer technologies, especially those in the continuous metering field, can provide discreet, easy-to-manage ways to track blood sugar levels without a lot of fuss that may be embarrassing for individual diabetes patients.
The importance of regular testing for diabetes patients is well established. Patients should discuss their testing regimen with their physician to ensure that they are maintaining adequate control over their diabetes symptoms and managing their disease appropriately.