August 7, 2016

The Value of SMBG Testing – Part 1

Gretchen Becker's blog of August 1 got me thinking and now I want to review prior blogs of mine on self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) to attempt to make the message of the value of SMBG testing stronger.

In the past several years, many reports have been published saying that self-testing of blood glucose (BG) by people with type 2 diabetes is useless, a waste of money, and simply increases rates of depression. I can understand this because there is no education of value given to help people use the testing data and change their way of eating that will help manage diabetes to lower blood glucose levels to near normal.

What the studies omit is that the medical professions in all countries are lax in giving patients the education necessary to understand how to use the blood glucose readings. They provide very little in guidance to their patients for proper decision-making when looking at blood glucose readings.

Some of us have been fortunate to receive some education in what to do with our blood glucose test results. Others have been able to research online and self-educate themselves. It is knowing how to adjust diet and exercise to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible that gives meaning to testing. The readings are truly of no value unless you know what to do to bring high readings down and how different foods affect your blood glucose levels. This also applies to preventing lows and all extreme highs and lows.

In essence, you need to become your own science experiment with yourself as your own lab rat or mouse. This is where the challenge is and where learning how diet and exercise affect your blood glucose proves, knowledge can be very powerful. There are many factors like general health, other diseases, mental or medical conditions can make this even more of a challenge.

Alan Shanley at loraldiabetes has been writing about the lack of respect and understanding SMBG has been receiving since at least 2006 and he has not missed much in the lack of understanding by researchers and the medical community.

When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I wondered what was ahead. Experiences in my life have been varied, but in my research on self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), I experienced something unlike anything else. I did not realize that whole industries and governments rely on and participate in funding studies fabricating false and misleading information to demean and direct fraudulent intent at a group of people with type 2 diabetes on no medications or oral medications.

These fabricated studies have been reported in trusted reviews, belying the truth in the way the studies were assembled and carried out. The editor of leading diabetes community website, Benedict Jephcote states: “There are a number of problems with the way results are presented within the Cochrane review. For instance, in the UK, there are many people with type 2 diabetes that are actively interested in self-testing and significant numbers of these people have to buy test strips from their own income. Studies which exclude these people cannot therefore give a fair representation of people with type 2 diabetes in the UK."

Cracks along the above line are already showing evidence to prove just that. In addition, in the future, researchers that are more honest will begin to refute these false studies. What is astounding is that the US Government has participated in this cover-up of studies that are done to show patients with type 2 diabetes do not need to self-monitor their blood glucose levels. The National Institute of Health leads the way and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services follows by cutting testing supplies for people needing them. By not educating Medicare and Medicaid patients about the value of self-monitoring of blood glucose and showing them how and when to test, they can support many studies proving that people with type 2 diabetes do not need the testing supplies.

Other writers proclaim that the studies are right and say that the results beyond a year do not hold up. I can understand this because these study participants are no longer given the supplies with which to self-monitor blood glucose. Many of the study participants probably are unable to afford the testing supplies and therefore without them the results would be expected to not hold up. That is one reason to have long-term studies of three to five years.

We have many factors working against us in the way people are selected for most of the studies and this discrimination and falsification in studies continues to harm people with type 2 diabetes. Tomorrow I will include more information about SMBG.

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