Are Finger Sticks Necessary for People with Type 2 Diabetes?

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A landmark study from the UNC School of Medicine suggests blood glucose testing may not improve blood sugar control or quality of life in people with type 2 diabetes who are not receiving insulin. Finger-stick blood glucose testing is a standard part of treatment for people with type 1 diabetes and those with type 2 diabetes who are being treated with insulin. Currently, 75 percent of these patients in the United States perform regular blood glucose testing at home, even though this testing is somewhat controversial.

The findings—from a study called the MONITOR Trial, which examined glucose monitoring for one year—were recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine. For the study, 450 people with type 2 diabetes were assigned to one of three groups. One group did not monitor blood sugar, one group monitored glucose levels once per day, and one group used enhanced blood glucose testing once per day. Enhanced monitoring involves receiving online instructions or encouragement after testing.

According to researchers, there were no significant differences in blood glucose control, health-related quality of life, episodes of hypoglycemia, or hospital visits across the three groups. In addition, there was no difference in the number of people with type 2 diabetes who required insulin treatment to control blood sugar levels during the study period.

Sourced from: UNC Health Care