Aims: Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is a necessary component of diabetes management but many patients with diabetes do not follow their healthcare proffesionals recommendations for self-monitoring. The aims of this study were to determine the proportion of patients with diabetes who perform SMBG in general practice and to identify patient-reported obstacles for SMBG.
Methods: The study included 372 patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), who attended to outpatient clinics of three State Hospitals. The patients were asked to report their SMBG frequency and if SMBG frequency was less than 4 tests/week, also asked what makes it difficult for them to check their blood sugars. Sex, age, years of education, diabetes duration, current medications for diabetes, HbA1c levels of the patients were also recorded.
Results: Among 372 patients, 337 (91%) reported having used SMBG during the past 12 months. Overall, 58.2% (n=196) of patients who self-monitored their blood glucose did one to three tests/week and 41.8% (n=141) of patients did ≥4 tests/week. The groups were similar by means of age, sex and years of education. Patients using insulin or insulin plus oral medication were more likely to report SMBG than were those using only oral medication (49.5 vs 30.1%; P=0.000). Mean HbA1c levels in less frequently testing group was significantly higher than more frequently testing group (9.4±2.5 vs 8.8±2.2%; P=0,028). The most frequently reported barriers for testing were; I do not see any value in checking more often (8.9%); I find it uncessary to check if I do not have any symptom (10.1%) and the results make me feel bad and Id rather not check (8.6%).
Discussion: SMBG should be considered as an important tool for managing diabetes and addressing patients self monitoring-related concerns and motivations may be usefull in reinforcing engagement with SMBG.