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Type 2 diabetes: finger glucose testing can be unreliable


How accurate are finger glucose tests?
Many people around the world have type 2 diabetes. In 2015 there were already more than 400 million people with diabetes worldwide - and the trend is rising. In the United States, type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of adult diabetes. A blood test using a finger stick is a quick and convenient way to measure blood sugar levels for people with the condition. Researchers have now found that this type of test is not really reliable.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists found in their current study that finger glucose measurements on a stick are not very reliable in diabetic patients. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "JAMA Internal Medicine".

Type 2 diabetes patients without insulin intake should not use the test
Managing diabetes requires measuring glucose levels at different times of the day. This led to the development of a measuring device that can determine the blood sugar level from a blood sample from the finger, the authors say. So far, it has been assumed that such tests are extremely accurate and reliable. However, the results of the current study now show that finger blood sugar tests are not as reliable as previously thought. The measurement on the finger is not useful for patients with type 2 diabetes who do not take insulin, the doctors say. The results of the tests are not reliable in these people.

What does type 2 diabetes do?
Blood sugar levels are elevated in people with type 2 diabetes. The body cells of those affected generally respond poorly to insulin. This hormone is normally said to cause the sugar molecules from the blood to be passed on to the cells.

Simple measures can help manage the disease
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that by 2030 type 2 diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in the world. Even simple measures can help to manage the disease successfully. These include, for example, a healthy diet, regular eating and regular exercise, the scientists explain. The current study suggests that self-monitoring of blood glucose levels has only very limited benefits in people with type 2 diabetes not treated with insulin.

Doctors examined 450 participants for their study
The current study included 450 subjects. The researchers advise patients with diabetes to discuss the need for blood sugar monitoring with their healthcare providers. If these health experts believe that a patient does not need insulin and does not need to monitor their blood sugar levels as often, they do not need a finger test to measure blood sugar at home. In this way, those affected can save money on the purchase of a glucose meter and daily test strips, the authors add.

Should patients do blood sugar tests?
Some health experts suspect that daily blood glucose tests can make patients more aware of their condition and help them better align their diet and lifestyle with their condition. Other experts believe that the daily routine of the exam, if not really necessary, is an additional financial burden and makes people more anxious about the disease. (as)

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