The more you test the better control you have... true or false?

Jeanette Terry
By Jeanette Terry Latest Reply 2015-01-08 20:19:48 -0600
Started 2013-02-22 14:08:52 -0600

I read an article the other day that talked about a study that resulted in better diabetes control with more blood sugar testing throughout the day. I agree with this completely. It is hard to have good control if you aren't testing to see where your blood sugar is on a regular basis.

But many people run into insurance problems when they need to start testing more, because some insurance companies will only cover a certain amount of test strips.

The study was very interesting. You can read the whole article here:

What is your experience? If you do have the luxury of testing frequently throughout the day have you noticed better blood sugar control? Or does your insurance restrict the number of times you can test a day?

32 replies

Stuart1966 2015-01-08 20:19:48 -0600 Report

The heading is entirely dead wrong on any number of levels. CONTROL has never been about producing the numbers someone believes they need.

Control, TRUE control is the ability keep my emotional focus on things which have nothing to do with diabetes ever. That is genuine, real control. The obsessive hyper-vigilance of too many of us is a horror, a tragic, misguided approach. Fear, anxiety, rage, despair, worry. These are not the children of real control.

Do not care how many times someone tests. If any single reading, a number at any time will cause someone radical time, effort, energy. any emotional energy for that matter…

That is never control, that is called imprisonment.

IronOre 2013-03-23 09:43:29 -0500 Report

I did not read the article yet, but based on my experience, the less I test the better control I am in, I now test around 4 times a day, but there was a time that I tested at least 8 times a day.
When I tested myself a lot I was constantly making corrections when maybe I shouldn't have. You should only test yourself after you have leveled off.
I also got that feeling (of being low) back that I seemed to lose when I tested so much.

greggv11 2013-03-07 19:37:40 -0600 Report

Insurance limits the ability to test as often as I would like but lately I started a new drug called junuvia which I've been whipping thru the strips monitoring the effect of the new drug.

trmelton 2013-03-02 13:51:27 -0600 Report

While the insurance companies play a big role in this, you can take a more active role by choosing a meter with strips that cost something you can afford. For example, at Wal*Mart, they have a new meter by ReliOn with 50 strips that only cost $9. While this may not be your preferred meter, it would allow you a cost saving alternative to test more often when you run out of the strips your insurance company will cover.
As for me, I need to use free and/or low cost supplies because I have no insurance.

Flustrated 2013-03-02 14:55:55 -0600 Report

The doctors are the ones who say how many times you should check and Medicare goes by that. If I checked more Medicare will hold out until I meet the doctors number of times I should be taking it. That is frustrating when you use you strips bec you are trying to test to make sure everything is ok after a low. Am I wrong. Correct me if I am.

jayabee52 2013-03-02 15:04:54 -0600 Report

actually medicare is trying to ensure that patients are not over ordering strips and then selling them on the grey market.

Medicare has been asking Drs to have patients turn in a logbook which tells how many times per day they've tested. If the patient tests a lot, then it is OK, but if the patient has a high strip count Rx but does not test that much then the request for that many strips again is denied.

lorider70 2013-03-02 10:38:56 -0600 Report

I am of the opinion that frequency of testing depends on how your numbers are and your Doctor's recomendations; plus whether or not your insurance provider will OK what you'd like to do. In my experience the "free meter" deals are just a way to get you to buy a certain brand of test strips. I've even had one company try to sell me a back brace; even though back problems were not discussed…go figure

Roy531 2013-03-02 07:32:32 -0600 Report

I totally agree that the more testing you do the better control you have. My question, why if more testing equals better control that some doctors will tell you you only need to test twice every two weeks. I told my doctor that I could not control it if I didn't know what it was doing, so I test at least 4 times a day.

Magoofdr 2013-03-22 22:40:54 -0500 Report

I was told the same thing, to only test once or twice a week, but then when I go to any Drs appt they want to know my BG level from that morning. Morning readings are sometimes high as I need that protien before bed, but with gastroperesis, eating before bed gives me nausea, nothing is easy now that I'm 60.
I am turning over a new leaf and plan on testing more and at different times to see whats going on.

jayabee52 2013-03-02 10:40:23 -0600 Report

The Drs are squeezed between the patient and the ins co, which is trying to cut their costs for strips so the word goes out from the ins co that Drs need to tell their patients to cut down on Blood Glucose testing.

Sharon Valerie
Sharon Valerie 2013-03-02 07:01:06 -0600 Report

I have read the replies, and I do believe that the more tests you do the better control you have. Because I recently had 3 Beta Cell transplants I currently test 11-12 times a day will allows the doctors to see clearly whats happening and can reduce/increase my insulin as required. I'm lucky I have 100% coverage for all my diabetic care and the hospital gives me the strips I need as and when I need them then I send the bills directly to my insurer. I'm very lucky as even here in Belgium the mutuals (Belgian insurance companies) do cover a lot but not everything. Testing is really important, it helps keep you on track with whats happening.

Nick1962 2013-02-24 11:33:45 -0600 Report

Others have touched on this but I’m going to say that’s not necessarily true. All the testing in the world makes no difference if you don’t use the information to better your condition if you can. I tested (as a T2) like crazy to find what works for me, and now that I know, and am well controlled, I don’t need to test near as often as most. I’d be more than happy to give up my insurance company’s “allotment” of test strips to someone who will really use them for the better. However, I know at least one diabetic who I really have to ask “why do you bother?”. Those strips are just wasted. Kind of like me having a speedometer in my truck as several state troopers will tell you.

alanbossman 2013-02-23 08:45:12 -0600 Report

My insurance allows me to test 6 times or more a day because I use insulin every day one shot a day. Yes I agree the more you test the better your control will be.

pixsidust 2013-02-23 08:40:09 -0600 Report

I have no insurance and of course that restricts me. With insurance, when I had it I was able to test frequently on Anthem insurance and when my company switched less frequently with United. I tested often my first few months and less afterwards. My advise is to take note of what affects you and remember that. If I have a low carb meal. I don't test afterwards unless I feel funny to conserve resources. Whats a low carb meal for me? Scrambled eggs with a serving of Trader Joes Multigrain hot cereal 20 carbs Or a chicken with a large spinach salad. Know yourself because we are all different. Remember your previous testing results and count count count your carbs!

manapua72 2013-02-22 19:44:32 -0600 Report

I supposed to check about 6 times a day … That comes out to about 160 strips … Yet when I get strips I get 150 per month … I use Bayer Contour Next strips … I've got good coverage so it comes out to about $16-17 a month on strips … Frequent testing equals better control , so long as the diabetic is watching what he/she is eating …

Chairmaker 2013-03-23 18:09:56 -0500 Report

I also test my BG levels approx. 6 times or more a day. I use the same testing meter and strips also. I have medicare and medicaid insurance and Humanna as my supplement insurance. The people at Humanna told me that my test strips and lancets can be obtained for free by contacting the company they refer, "Right Source". 1-800-901-1678.

tabby9146 2013-02-22 17:56:24 -0600 Report

It really sucks that insurance companies do this mine doesn't however, the cost has really gone up, I spend more per month now on strips, than I did when I used to get a 3 month supply at one time, well no, not more, the same amount now each month, for a 30 day supply as I did for 3 months. my hubby's insurance company through his work changed. I hate it.

davidhogan 2013-02-22 15:27:11 -0600 Report

I could not have developed the carb formula with my endocrinologist we came up with without constant testing. We used an online patient portal where I sent in my bg readings every day for 3 weeks.

A year later I greatly increased my exercise activity and once again we tweaked things so I did not get lows after exercising. I also study what various food do to me, so A BIG YES to better control.

Even with that I have left over strips each month and I give them to 2 people who live nearby that have no insurance. Is that WRONG? Maybe, but my insurance and doctor set the amount of strips I can have and there are times I get low on them and the diabetes supply center my insurance uses does not offer a means to send back the ones not used because I asked.

So at least I feel like I am helping some folks with what would otherwise get thrown away. I would not feel right selling them as I've seen people on eBay do.

Insurance companies want or need I'm guessing as I do not know, to work with absolutes such as HOW MANY TIMES A DAY DO YOU TEST???

It depends, was not an option so they want the max amount so you do not run out. I'm all for a better way to hold everyone's cost down and as I said I asked about sending them back and it was not an option.

LOL too much info I know. ;-)

Chairmaker 2013-03-23 18:52:04 -0500 Report

The pharmacy where I get my prescriptions from, and my strips at the time gave me the wrong strips for the meter I use. For some reason something told me to check the strips and sure enough they were the wrong ones for my meter. I had not even left the pharmacy so I told the Pharmacist about the mix up of the meter's. He gave me the correct ones but refused to take the incorrect strips back because he said that once they have been issued out, they are NOT allowed to take them back, even though the boxes were never opened. Didn't make any sense to me but I did like you and gave them to a friend of mine who I knew could use them.

happybird1 2013-03-02 11:21:04 -0600 Report

well was told my Dr. yesterday she is pleased with my A1C it was 6, but still have to take meformin 1000 mgs twice a day and insulin am and pm Humulin and humalog, craving for some kind of sweets, she said dark chocolate is good for me, any other good suggestions/ thanks, have a good day all

Leoxiii 2013-03-19 06:34:10 -0500 Report

I make sweets by mixing cocoa powder, dried coconut and coconut milk with crunchy (low sugar) peanut butter on the stove. Roll it into balls (a teaspoon each) and then coat it in coconut powder. Pop it in the fridge. Just sweet enough for the sweet tooth and very low in carbs.

happybird1 2013-03-19 11:32:00 -0500 Report

hello, that sounds interesting, where to get dried cocnut in Florida, I took grahma crackers with peanut butter, also had peanut butter with chocolate chipS, 2 tbsp:-) more snacks drivre me nuts at nite:-)

June Tademy
June Tademy 2013-03-19 12:14:00 -0500 Report

Hi jaybee52 I know I am late on this discussion but I have to agree with you on the strip thing I had to prove to the Doctor that I test three four times a day, which I do and with my BS always high he agreed with me and I get 500 plus an extra 300.

Lentyl 2013-03-19 12:15:10 -0500 Report

You're right James. It's just a matter of checking for non-sweetened because both kinds are available.

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