Self-testing for diabetes may not benefit patients

Fri, 18 Apr 2008
According to two recent diabetes-related studies, home testing and monitoring blood sugar levels in the home might not actually improve care levels and could be a great waste of NHS resources.

A research team found that those patients who self-test their blood sugar levels face higher levels of depression. Furthermore, a second study reported by the British Medical Journal indicates that self-testing for diabetics costs an extra £90 per patient per annum, and could give rise to a lower quality of life.

However, both government sources and the staff at Diabetes.co.uk agree that for some people being able to self-monitor is extremely useful. For those diabetic patients that take insulin, for instance, being able to constantly monitor blood sugar could be an essential part of diabetes management .

However, the studies made it clear that self-monitoring was not cost-effective, and could even have a negative influence on quality of life. Leader of the study, Maurice O'Kane, was reported as commenting: "What we can say is if people do not want to monitor there's no evidence their care will be inferior."

Care advisor at leading UK diabetes charity Diabetes UK, Libby Dowling, was reported as commenting: "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."
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