Living with diabetes blog

Overcoming barriers to self-monitoring of blood glucose

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E. February 10, 2009

Monitoring your blood glucose is an important part of effective diabetes management. It is especially important for people who take insulin. Many people find that it is difficult to make blood glucose monitoring a routine part of their lives. So, if you are struggling with checking your blood glucose as recommended by your healthcare provider, you are not alone.

An American Diabetes Association survey found that "21 percent of adults with type 1 diabetes never checked their blood glucose. Of those with insulin-treated type 2 diabetes, 47 percent never monitored, and among those with type 2 diabetes who were not using insulin, 76 percent never checked.''

William Polonsky, in his book "Diabetes Burnout," lists the top 10 reasons to hate checking your blood glucose. They are as follows:

  1. Your meter makes you feel bad about yourself.
  2. Monitoring seems pointless (because you believe there is nothing you can really do about your blood glucose results anyway).
  3. Checking your blood glucose reminds you that you have diabetes, which is something you'd probably rather not think about too much.
  4. Your meter seems to control your life, telling you what you can and cannot do.
  5. Monitoring serves as an opportunity for your friends and family to bother you.
  6. None of your health care providers ever do anything with the results anyway.
  7. Checking blood glucose sometimes hurts.
  8. Monitoring can be inconvenient.
  9. Monitoring can be expensive.
  10. Life is too busy and demanding to take the time for regular monitoring.

What are your personal barriers?  If you know what your personal barriers to checking your blood glucose regularly are, there are things that you can do to overcome them. Some general tips:

  • Glucose readings are just numbers. They are not judgments of your ability to manage your diabetes. Think of your test results as a check — not a test. Blood glucose testing is a tool that you can use to evaluate the effectiveness of your diabetes care plan. Results can be used by you and your healthcare provider to adjust your treatment if needed. Also remember that no matter how hard you have been trying to manage your diabetes, there will be times that your glucose levels are not in your target range.
  • Be realistic. Work with your healthcare provider to determine your blood glucose goals.
  • Use your knowledge to manage your diabetes from day to day. Work with your healthcare provider to fine-tune your diabetes care plan by adjusting your meal plan, activity level, and/or your medication to help meet your blood glucose goals.

We look forward to hearing from you. Please share your experiences with glucose monitoring. Do you find it hard to make glucose monitoring a routine part of your life?

- Peggy

Feb. 10, 2009