As per clinical guidelines from the American Diabetes Association, 2017 an average Type 2 diabetic patient should check for blood glucose daily. Whereas studies indicate that in India, average educated diabetes patient checks blood glucose approximately once in few weeks, or even lower than a month.
The fact is that this frequency needs to be improved upon as testing regularly is an investment to prevent those future losses. When we actively measure and monitor blood glucose levels, it allows corrective actions quickly – before diabetes develop complications ranging from failure of heart, kidney, eyes, feet and nervous system.
The solution is to adopt self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), a home blood glucose test system, an instrument which helps diabetics to achieve and maintain their respective therapeutic goals. It is an essential tool in the optimal management of diabetes, especially for patients on insulin support. SMGB not only helps to keep blood sugar levels in check but also enables diabetics to know their blood sugar pattern: how it varies during the day, with eating out, with exercise, with illness etc.
It helps your doctor see how well your meals, activities, medicines and insulin are working and what action to take, to ensure your medication has maximum results. Also, it reduces anxiety about hypoglycemia, which is a too low blood glucose which might impose health risks like clumsiness, trouble talking, confusion, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
Usefulness of SMBG can be summarized in different forms of diabetes as following:
- Diabetics being treated with insulin need to do SMBG for administration of correct dose of insulin and detecting low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). The intensity of this monitoring will depend on the type of insulin regimen.
Consult your healthcare adviser for frequency of checks needed for managing your specific condition.
- For type 2 diabetes, SMBG is beneficial in management of disease for people with diabetes, who are undergoing adjustments in medication, nutrition and physical activity.
- For people with well controlled type 2 diabetes, who are on lifestyle modification or on oral drugs, SMBG helps in understanding their disease better and feel more in control.
- Women who are planning to become pregnant, but their diabetes is not adequately controlled to ensure that complications do not kick in.
- People experiencing worsening of diabetes, have infections, are traveling or are under stress or are entering a new life experience, like starting a new job or changing work hours.
But you need to remember that SMBG and testing HbA1c are not interchangeable. Both are a must for diabetic, SMBG provides information about day-to-day and intra-day changes in glucose levels, whereas HbA1c test is valuable in assessing long-term glycemic control.