People with type 2 diabetes who are not treated with insulin had improved glycemic control following a supervised online program to help with self-monitoring blood sugar levels, a study reports.
On the other hand, patients whose self-monitoring was unsupervised did not achieve improvements in their blood sugar control.
This new randomised trial was conducted by the University of Edinburgh. Researchers evaluated data from the Telescot trial, which involved 321 adults with type 2 diabetes who had elevated HbA1c levels.
Half of the participants were randomly assigned to a supported telemonitoring intervention that included instructions for blood glucose and blood pressure testing, and weight monitors.
Information was transmitted to research nurses using Bluetooth-enabled monitoring devices: twice weekly for blood glucose readings and once weekly for blood pressure and weight.
The other half received standard care consisting of annual consultations plus reviews for patients with poor blood glucose control or high blood pressure.
The primary aim of the researchers was to determine HbA1c levels after nine months – the study began on June 6, 2011 and the last follow-up visit was May 21, 2014.
Those in the intervention group had better glycemic control, lower HbA1c and reduced blood pressure, but weight differences were not significantly different between the two groups.
The researchers said: “The key feature of our trial is robust evidence suggesting that blood glucose monitoring with relatively little additional support from health professionals can be of value in terms of improving glycemic control in people who have previously had poor glycemic control.”
Study author Dr Brian McKinstry told Endocrine Today: “The main take-home message is that telemonitoring of people with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes results in lower HbA1c and [BP] and that it does so with very little increased workload.
“Such reductions would be expected to reduce the complications of diabetes and, in particular, reduce the incidence of stroke and myocardial infarction.”
If you have type 2 diabetes and want to learn more about self-monitoring your blood glucose, check out the Type 2 Testing Program – a different support plan to that used in this study. As well as providing affordable access to blood testing supplies, the Type 2 Testing program helps you understand what factors can affect your blood test readings.
The study appears in the online journal PLOS Medicine.