People living with type 2 diabetes (who don't use insulin)
frequently question whether they need to check their blood glucose
Sometimes people check their BGLs three times a day, others are
advised by health professionals not to check at all. This confuses
people with type 2 diabetes about if or how often they should
measure their BGLs at home.
Clinically, unless a person with type 2 is using the blood
glucose result as a guide to improve their BGLs, then pricking
their fingers may just be a painful procedure presenting a number
on a meter, without giving any real benefit to the person taking
Research has found limited evidence to the benefit and
effectiveness of regular blood glucose tests in people with type 2
not using insulin. Research has shown that ongoing blood glucose
checking may present little health related benefits and cause
The most common way a health professional measures a person's
blood glucose is by a blood test known as a glycosylated
haemoglobin test. It's also referred to as the HbA1c test. This
blood test measures a person's average blood glucose level over the
previous two to three months.
Your doctor will determine how often this pathology test needs
to occur. It's often measured by GPs every three to six months.
It's important to note that the HbA1c test is an average. It
will not report fluctuations in low and high blood glucose
readings. Two people can present with the same average HbA1c
results and yet have vastly different daily blood glucose results.
As shown by the graph, both results show an average HbA1c of 7%.
But the daily resulting blood glucose readings are very
There are circumstances where your health professional will
consider it beneficial for you to check your BGLs at home with a
blood glucose meter.
They may recommend you don't need to check BGLs at home if
you're not taking insulin, are stabilised on oral tablets for
diabetes, or may present a low risk of hypoglycaemia.
Guidelines generally recommend an individualised approach. For
more information about what is right for you, speak to your health
care professional or ring the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588 to
discuss your options.