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Type 2 diabetes

Self-monitoring your blood glucose levels is not routinely recommended if you have type 2 diabetes and are not taking insulin or a sulfonylurea. Talk to your health professional about reviewing your self-monitoring of blood glucose levels.

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Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body either cannot respond to insulin or cannot produce enough insulin to control glucose levels in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is associated with genetics and lifestyle factors (e.g. poor diet, obesity, physical inactivity).

Blood glucose levels in people with diabetes are usually checked by your doctor four times per year, using a laboratory test called HbA1c, or a ‘finger prick’ test and a blood glucose monitor. Self-monitoring is when you check your blood glucose levels at home using the ‘finger prick’ test.

If you have type 2 diabetes and are not taking insulin or a sulfonylurea, self-monitoring of your blood glucose levels is not routinely recommended.

Research shows self-monitoring of blood glucose provides only slight improvement in control of type 2 diabetes, however general well-being or general health-related quality of life is not improved. Talk to your health professional about when self-monitoring might be of benefit, such as assessing low blood sugar.

Whether you self-monitor your blood glucose or not, the following advice will help manage your diabetes.

What can you do?

Manage your weight

Know your healthy weight and, if needed, develop a healthy eating and exercise plan to achieve those goals.

Eat a healthy diet

Maintain a balanced diet that includes a wide range of vegetables, moderate amounts of high-fibre carbohydrates that have a low glycaemic index (GI), lean cuts of meat and fish, low-fat dairy products, and small amounts of high fat and sugary foods. Low GI foods release glucose into the blood slowly, which helps blood glucose levels rise steadily and avoid a glucose ‘high’.

Exercise regularly

Regularly exercising improves blood glucose control and overall health and wellbeing. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise (e.g. brisk walking, aqua aerobics) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (e.g. jogging, swimming).

Take your medicines correctly

If you have been prescribed medicines to control your blood glucose levels, it is important to take your medicines at the correct dose and times.

It’s OK to ask questions
If you have questions about your symptoms or the medicines managing your symptoms, speak with your health professional.

You can also download this information as a pdf (346 KB).

Adapted from NPS MedicineWise (2016), Type 2 diabetes. Reasonable care is taken to provide accurate information at the time of creation. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and should not be exclusively relied on to manage or diagnose a medical condition. NPS MedicineWise and Choosing Wisely New Zealand do not assume any responsibility or liability arising from any error or omission or from reliance on any information in this resource.

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This article is part of our content on Choosing Wisely, a campaign encouraging a change in thinking by health professionals and consumers to avoid unnecessary medical intervention.

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