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COUNTING THE COST – should T2s test?

There are two issues regarding blood testing for people with type 2 diabetes. First is access to strips on prescription. Because strips are seen as costly, and with the NHS facing cuts (as always), strips for Type 2s have been targeted as a way of cutting back. That means that people who want to test are being held back from doing so.

Second is a bizarre belief that because blood testing can be unpleasant (apparently) and that people might find it hard to do, that they need not bother. OK, so not many people WANT to stab themselves in the finger, no matter what the reason, so Type 2s can be forgiven for not ‘wanting’ to, but that does not mean that they shouldn’t.

There’s several pharmaceutical companies looking to help Type 2s test more, and a few online pharmacies that have spotted the trend who are offering simple, cost-effective meters and strips so that you can buy them if you want them and forego the hassle of dealing with an unyielding GP.

Among the many blood test meters out there, some are aimed at those with Type 2 diabetes with some added features for those who test infrequently or who do not have to use carb-counting to help control their condition. For example, the OneTouch VITA from Lifescan (http://bit.ly/Lifescan_Vita) can help users link the effects of food to their blood glucose level. It is particularly recommended for Type 2 diabetics on insulin as it can also help to show how food choices affect their blood glucose levels. Increased awareness of this on the part of the patient should lead to greater control of their diabetes.

Among the meters and strips that are more easily available online are those for the Wavesense Jazz (www.arcticmedical.co.uk) and IME-DC meter (http://bit.ly/Desang_IME-DC). Other meters are widely available from chemists – you can chat to your pharmacist about costs per pot of sensors. A very rough guide is about 70p per strip. Yes, that adds up if you’re testing five times a day, seven days a week – that’s two pots of 25 strips every two weeks. But if you’re testing once a day for three days a week, then you might think it a seriously good investment in your long-term health.

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