Part of the daily routine for diabetics is finger pricking to test their blood-sugar levels. But a new study out of England found that many type-2 diabetics have a hard time understanding the test -- and they often skip the routine all together.
In this week's Dealing with Diabetes report, Eye on Health looks at why some diabetics would rather look the other way when it comes to self-testing.
Las Vegas resident Jerry Montgomery recalls the initial fear and frustration of having to self-monitor his blood-glucose levels as part of managing his type-2 diabetes.
"You get up in the morning and you test and you find out you have a high glucose, you start to think back, what did I do?" asks Montgomery. "What haven't I done? And it became something you get very concerned about."
Montgomery is not alone in his anxiety. Diabetes educator Darlene Allen says some type-2 diabetics aren't clear what they're supposed to be looking for -- so they stop looking.
"Most people quit monitoring their blood glucose because they don't understand what the numbers mean, and what they're suppose to do with them anyway," said Allen. "Or sometimes, they don't do it because they really don't want to know the number, and then might have to make a decision about what to do."
"And so you have a tendency sometimes, well if I don't know, if I don't take the test, I don't have to be that much aware of it," said Montgomery.
Allen says the readings, using a drop of blood from a home testing kit, are simply a snapshot in time, and should not be feared.
"If they learn what the numbers mean and how they can respond to those numbers, they're going to be more in compliance with doing that," said Allen.
If a person is unaware that their blood sugar levels are consistently high over long periods of time, they could be headed for trouble.
"Because high blood sugars are what cause damage in the body and lead to diabetes complications," said Allen.
Allen believes effective self-management is essential for successful diabetic control.
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