Tracking blood sugar increases the odds of managing it well. That’s the key finding of a new study by Mount Sinai researchers who found diabetics who use meters to monitor their glucose have better control over their condition.
The findings, presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Francisco this week, underscore the benefits of blood sugar monitoring in people with diabetes.
For the study, researchers tracked 500 Medicaid and Medicare patients with uncontrolled diabetes. They found those who brought their glucose meters to doctor appointments and monitored levels at home — about 30 percent of those patients — had lower levels of hemoglobin A1c (a marker of diabetes severity) than patients who did not monitor their blood sugar.
"These results show that there is still much work to be done in educating patients about the benefits of glucose monitoring," said Ronald Tamler, M.D., clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center and associate professor of medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center.
"We also need to focus our resources on the population most likely to benefit from this kind of monitoring. After all, the effect seen in Medicare and Medicaid patients rivals that of adding another medication."
Co-researcher Gillian Boyd-Woschinko, M.D., noted patients who bring their glucose monitors to their doctor appointments can provide more accurate measurements to their physicians than those who have handwritten logs.
"Past research has shown then when comparing hand written logs to meter data, it can be inaccurate due to under-reporting and over-reporting," said Boyd-Woschinko. "Both occur as a result of human error, the desire to please the physician, and lack of understanding of the utility of accurate data. We encourage all patients to bring their blood glucose meters to their appointments, so we can download them."
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