Type 2 diabetes patients who self-monitor blood glucose levels at home often misunderstand the significance of high readings and how to react to them, warn researchers in Scotland.
They said the lack of knowledge was “surprising” and that patients needed more education.
Stirling University researchers interviewed 207 type 2 diabetes patients to find out how they self-monitored their HbA1c levels.
They found over 60% of patients took no action in response to test readings, the majority stating they did not know what action to take. In addition, they said 68% of patients perceived a high reading to be 10mmol/l or above.
Lead author Josie Evans, senior lecturer in public health at the university’s school of nursing, midwifery and health, said: “Most people said a high reading was 10 or above when ideally, patients’ blood glucose levels should be less than 7.
“I was surprised to learn the extent of misunderstandings over high readings,” she said.
Patients usually knew what to do if they had a low HbA1c reading, according to Dr Evans, but found it “very frustrating if they have a high reading as they are unsure what to do about it”.
“There is no point in patients self-monitoring unless they are educated in how to interpret readings and to respond appropriately,” she added.
Dr Evans will present the study findings to a Scottish School of Primary Care conference in Glasgow next month. The research was funded by the Scottish government’s Chief Scientist Office.