How Can We Change Attitudes to Glucose Monitoring With Limited Subsidies?

I recently completed the yourSAY (Self-management And You) study, where I was invited to give my insights into diabetes self management and glucose monitoring behaviour here in Australia. As I was answering the questions, it became evident to me that the survey was trying to hone in on people’s attitudes and behaviour towards blood glucose monitoring.

One of the survey questions asked me to identify when I would check my blood glucose levels. Would I check when I wake up? Before meals? 2 hours after meals? Before bed? When I feel unwell? When I feel my blood glucose might be high or low? Before I drive a motor vehicle? Before I exercise? During the night? Or “just to check?” Naturally, I ticked all of the boxes.

If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you’ll know how strongly I feel about blood glucose monitoring. How it helps me to feel grounded and in control over my diabetes. How it gives me a sense of certainty, and peace of mind over this rollercoaster of a disease. And how lost I would feel about it. I have never, ever needed any motivation to check my blood glucose levels in the years that I have been living with diabetes. But as I was completing this survey, it became apparent to me that many people might not be as motivated to do so (no judgement either way).

I might be wrong, but it seemed to me that this survey might have an end view of encouraging people with diabetes to check their blood glucose levels more often. And when I think of this issue, one thing comes to mind. 

How am I supposed to check my blood sugar levels that often when our test strip subsidies here in Australia are so limited? How am I supposed to check my blood sugar levels when I get behind the wheel, when I exercise, when I feel unwell, before a meal, after a meal, when I feel low, when I feel high, when I’m unsure and during the night – when our National Diabetes Services Scheme only subsidises 5 blood glucose tests a day? How am I supposed to check my blood sugar levels when I am being told that I consume too many diabetes supplies? (You can read more about this in the column I wrote for Insulin Nation in July).

If this is indeed the end game that our diabetes regulatory bodies are seeking, then surely the sensible approach would be to re-evaluate our healthcare policies.

I must say that completing the yourSAY survey was rather stimulating. It certainly made me reflect on my diabetes management strategies here in Australia, and I’ll be sharing some more of my thoughts here in the days to come.

If you are a person with diabetes living in Australia, you can complete the yourSAY survey by visiting yoursay.org.au.

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