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Evidence Summary

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Self-monitoring reduces blood-sugar levels in patients with non-insulin-treated Type 2 diabetes

Mannucci E, Antenore A, Giorgino F, Scavini M.  Effects of structured versus unstructured self-monitoring of blood glucose on glucose control in patients with non-insulin-treated type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials Journalof Diabetes Technology and Science. 2018; 12(1): 183-189.

Review question

  • Is self-monitoring of blood-sugar levels effective for patients with Type 2 diabetes who are not treated with insulin?

Background

  • Regularly measuring blood-sugar levels may increase awareness of the effect of lifestyle factors, such as food choices and levels of exercise, on health. However, many patients with Type 2 diabetes who are not treated with insulin do not regularly monitor their blood-sugar levels.
  • Currently, physicians use blood-sugar charts recorded by patients to adjust treatment plans.
  • While self-monitoring of blood sugar is a good way to engage patients in their own care and tailor treatment, is it effective at reducing blood-sugar levels among patients with Type 2 diabetes who are not treated with insulin?

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of a number of electronic databases was conducted to identify studies published from 2000 to 2015. Studies that focused on adults with non-insulin-treated Type 2 diabetes who self-monitored their blood-sugar levels were included in the review.
  • A total of 151 studies were identified in searches, and 11 were included in the review after assessments for eligibility.
  • This review was funded by an unconditional educational grant from Roche Diagnostics.

What the researchers found

  • The researchers found that self-monitoring blood-sugar levels effectively reduced blood-sugar levels over the long term in non-insulin-treated Type 2 diabetes. This was particularly the case when self-monitoring was done in a structured way, meaning that the timing and frequency of measurements were specified, and when self-monitoring data was used to adjust medications based on clinical recommendations.
  • The researchers suggested that while the reduction in blood-sugar levels was small, the resulting health benefits are significant and difficult to achieve without self-monitoring.

Conclusion

  • The review found that self-monitoring blood-sugar levels effectively reduced blood-sugar levels over the long term among patients with Type 2 diabetes who are not treated with insulin, particularly when self-monitoring was done in a structured way.
  • While the reduction in blood-sugar levels was small, this can still lead to significant long-term health improvements for patients with Type 2 diabetes who are not treated with insulin.

 




Related Web Resources

  • Type 2 diabetes: Screening for adults

    Health Link B.C.
    People at average risk for type 2 diabetes should be tested every 3 years after age 40. You may need to be tested more frequently if you are at higher risk. Find out your risk with the Canadian Diabetes Risk Assessment Questionnaire (link in this resource).
  • High blood sugar can increase cognitive decline

    Berkeley Wellness
    New research shows that if you have high blood sugar, you might be more at risk for cognitive decline as you age. Whether or not you have diabetes, it is important to keep your blood sugar under control.
  • Prediabetes: Which Treatment Should I Use to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps People with prediabetes considering treatment to help prevent type 2 diabetes decide on whether to make a major lifestyle change or take the medicine metformin by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

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