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moving pattern of endless test strips

I Check My Blood Sugar “Too Much”

My endocrinologist, pharmacist, and insurance company all agree that I check my blood sugar too much. I disagree. As a person living with type 2 diabetes, I am discouraged from checking my blood sugar as often as I want. My endocrinologist thinks that I may be overloaded with too much data which may be contributing to my stress levels and I should relax. Recently, she recommended that I take a 2-month break from checking my blood sugar since my numbers are relatively stable. I lasted three days. My pharmacist gave me free samples one time after the insurance rejected my request for 100 strips per month and I nearly cried. When he handed me the free samples, he strongly encouraged me to check less frequently to avoid being upset over a regulation that he nor I could change.

Freedom to check blood sugar often

For the past eight years, I’ve felt most comfortable to check my blood sugar before and/or after breakfast, before and/or after lunch, before and/or after dinner, before and/or after working out, before and/or after a 5k race, and anytime I feel my blood sugar has dropped. At minimum, I would like to have the freedom to check my blood sugar three times per day. Unfortunately, because I am not using insulin at the moment, my endocrinologist, pharmacist, and insurance company all agree that I check my blood sugar too much.

Knowledge is power

I disagree because I understand that knowledge is power. It’s helpful to know how high my blood sugar rises after eating a medium-sized container of movie theatre popcorn at the cinema. It’s been beneficial to discover that no matter how small the amount, oatmeal always spikes my blood sugar higher than 180. It’s a pleasure to know that I can eat a small chocolate chip cookie or a small apple after Zumba class and my blood sugar will remain within range. It helps to know if my fasting blood sugar is within range before selecting what I’ll eat for breakfast.

I wouldn’t be able to manage diabetes peacefully if I didn’t have this information. Sadly, I end up paying out of pocket for test strips because my insurance will only cover 50 per month, which isn’t enough to check twice per day. Although it may a losing battle, I will continue to fight for the right of non-insulin using type 2s to be able to check their blood sugar as many times as our hearts desire.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Sierraflowr
    2 months ago

    I am the same way. I call it ‘Eating to my meter’. Only problem being, of course, the meters need to be semi-correct. Unfortunately, they aren’t.
    I totally hear you! Its amazing to me how some insurances are so stingy with the strips. I’m on Medicare and they allow a couple a day. Which is Way better than my husbands VA, which gives him 2 a WEEK!!! I’m lucky so far Medicare hasn’t popped me as I’m going through one of their ‘OK’d’ vendors.
    So I appreciate your post. Thank you.

  • cherylthebookseller
    3 months ago

    I hope someday you can get one of those continuous meters. I have very well controlled diabetes too because I want to know how foods are effecting me. Having a continuous meter lets we see what I can eat. I have trouble with oatmeal too.

  • john paulson
    3 months ago

    I am with you. I want to know what each meal does . What is the point of controlling the diet without knowing results. I don’t even try insurance when the walmart test strips for the relion “prime” meter are 18 dollars for 100. Low carb (17 carb per day average) for a 5.3 A1C. Ders Can say whatever they want to me, but I will run my own health game,

  • tealady7777
    3 months ago

    Phyllisa, I wholeheartedly agree with you. My sympathies go out to you.
    My glucose is out of control no matter WHAT I eat. Regular carb, low carb, no carb; my glucose is far too high. I have metabolic syndrome and like to check my glucose 6-8 times a day. Two years ago we moved from Colorado to Georgia. My new doctors want me testing less than 3 times per day. This does not work for me. I get anxiety attacks and end up taking medication for them. So I buy extra strips over the counter. It’s expensive.
    NOTE: Yes. I am careful about my diet. I’ve also lost over 100 pounds in 4 years. I do have 40-50 left to use. That has made some difference in my A1c, but not enough.
    Susan

  • Phyllisa Deroze author
    3 months ago

    I too have lost a lot of weight and strangely, it seems as though the more I lose the worse my bg gets. So much for the “lose weight and get a better A1C” message that has been preached to me over the years.

  • luis99
    3 months ago

    I agree with your doctor. This frequent testing makes me nervous and increases my anxiety and stress levels, which in turn increases the cortisol hormone in my body, which in turn increases my blood glucose level. Then again, looks like you are not the nervous type so hey, check as often as you like, Walmart sells strips at avery low cost.

  • Phyllisa Deroze author
    3 months ago

    I get nervous, but not checking actually makes me more nervous.

  • cmom
    3 months ago

    Wal-Mart sells Relion meters. The strips are about $18 / 100. You should be thrilled with your A1c.

  • Phyllisa Deroze author
    3 months ago

    Thanks for the info.

  • Tilliethetoiler
    3 months ago

    I agree, when I was diagnosed and started on insulin, my Endo had me testing 7 times a day, before and 2 hrs after meals. It is a help to be able to see how certain foods effect your numbers. Now, 35 yrs later, my new doctor is upset that my A1c now is 5.9 because I am having too many lows for someone in their 70’s. So we are trying to adjust my dosage and change some of my eating habits and mind set to accept 150 instead of 120.

  • Phyllisa Deroze author
    3 months ago

    Best wishes with making the change. Lows can be scary and too many of them can negatively affect my entire week. I always feel worn out from recovering from hypos.

  • Peaches1955
    3 months ago

    I buy my extra strips online at Amazon, it costs less than my copay, you don’t need a prescription and you can order as many as you like.
    My husband checks at least 6 times a day and I check 2 times. (I am just recently diagnosed)

  • Phyllisa Deroze author
    3 months ago

    Thanks for the tip

  • Tilliethetoiler
    3 months ago

    M

  • MrsAJ
    3 months ago

    I completely agree with you and I’m so sorry that insurance won’t cover you to check at least 3-4 times a day. I’m advised by my dietician to check 4 times a day. It used to be 6 times because she wanted me checking after snacks as well. I like checking and knowing exactly what my levels are after all meals. It’s good to know what spikes you. I hope you’re able to find an affordable test strip brand. Good luck

  • Phyllisa Deroze author
    3 months ago

    Thanks. It’s always good to hear from someone who understands and who can relate.

  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    3 months ago

    I like checking mine as well. One of my brothers who is type 2 as well gets the Walmart brand. Don’t know how much they cost on their own but might be something worth looking into as well. Have you looked into the various companies to see if they can offer help in this?

  • Phyllisa Deroze author
    3 months ago

    Their brand is affordable and thankfully some of the subscription services (OneDrop and MySugr) are cost-effective.

  • Thomas A McAtee Jr. moderator
    3 months ago

    That’s good. Knew that Accu chek has something. Can’t remember if any of the others do or not. But looks like from all the suggestions and what you’ve discovered on your own you’ve got a great handle on supplies that way.

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