Last week I had an appointment with my primary care physician. I go to the Phoenix VA, as I am a combat vet who served in OIF in 2004-2005.
I felt pretty crappy in late June, and couldn’t seem to get an appointment to see my PC. I like the VA and all, but I must say they are a little less than impressive these days. Anyhow, I ended up going to the ER, and that’s when I found out I was diabetic.
This brings me to my point. While I was in with my PC last week, I asked if I could have a prescription for some blood glucose testing strips, as they are costing me around $23 for 100 strips paying out of pocket.
I was quite surprised to find out that the government will not pay for test strips for me because I am taking oral medication (Metformin) and not insulin. I was quite surprised because I have found that testing my blood sugar 2-3 times a day has allowed me to regulate the portion size and type of food I eat much better. This has resulted in a much more controlled blood sugar, and in turn, a much more controlled diabetes.
I’m delighted to find out that a recent study has shown that people with type 2 diabetes who aren’t on insulin can benefit from monitoring their own blood sugar, just as those on insulin can.
Dana Brackney, PhD, RN, CDE, an assistant professor of nursing at Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C., led the study. Those on insulin monitor blood sugar as a way to decide if they need more or less insulin, she says.
Brackney’s 11-patient study found those not on insulin can benefit from self-monitoring, too. In fact, monitoring blood sugar produced a drop in their A1C levels over time, from 7.3 percent to 6.2 percent. A1C levels are very important for diabetics, as they measure average blood sugar levels for the past few months. A healthy diabetic should have A1C levels below 7 percent.
In short, the results confirm that people with type 2 diabetes do respond to the results of blood sugar self-monitoring tests, Brackney concluded.
I think this is great news, but honestly it’s something that even I, a “new” diabetic, was pretty sure of the minute I started to test my blood sugar levels at least 3 times a day. Maybe soon the government will realize this and I can get my strips much cheaper!