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Diabetics Misunderstand Blood Glucose Monitoring

Crucial role of health professionals in educating and motivating patients

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with type 2 diabetes are uncertain about the benefit of blood glucose monitoring, partly because they perceive a lack of interest on the part of their providers, researchers report in the September issue of BMJ.

Elizabeth Peel, of Aston University in Birmingham, U.K., and colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 18 type 2 diabetes patients over a four-year period following their initial clinical diagnosis.

The investigators found that patients' blood glucose self-monitoring decreased over time. Many felt that self-monitoring was not important, partly because their physicians seemed to care more about glycosylated hemoglobin levels and did not pay much attention to their recorded meter readings. In addition, patients felt unsure of how to manage high blood glucose readings. Overall, patients did not appear to be using recorded values to guide or maintain behavior change.

The authors encourage better patient-provider communication as a means to improving self-monitoring practices. "Health professionals should be explicit about whether and when such patients should self-monitor and how they should interpret and act upon the results, especially high readings," Peel and colleagues conclude.

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