Study Shows That Access to Adequate Supply Of Test Strips Linked to Better Diabetes Care

A new study published this month in "Diabetes Care" that includes many subjects recruited at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, concludes what many clinicians already knew—it is crucial for patients with type 1 diabetes to have access to adequate testing supplies because more frequent blood sugar monitoring is associated with better outcomes. At the Berrie Center, according to pediatric endocrinologist, Ileana Vargas, MD, many patients who take insulin check their blood sugars six to ten times a day. “Most kids eat three meals, two or three snacks, and play sports,” said Dr. Vargas. “In some smaller kids the parents monitor them 15 times a day especially during nap time and overnights."

Medicare and many insurance companies still limit the number of test strips they will provide any given patient—although in this new research, it showed that across all age groups, testing more frequently was linked to better blood sugar levels. This paper came out of a large type 1 diabetes registry, the T1D Exchange, funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Dr. Robin Goland, Berrie Center Co-Director and J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes at Columbia University, is a principal investigator in the T1D Exchange study and is a study author. This was the first study to evaluate the relationship between home glucose monitoring and the lab test HbA1c—which shows the average level of blood sugar over the previous three months.