In the United Kingdom - not keen on bs testing...?

Blood sugar testing seems to be frowned upon by my doctor and the clinic nurse here and in general it seems in the U.K. Yet pharmacies sell bs testing kits. I can see from the posts that most people are from the U.S. Australia and other countries. The diabetic nurse was very disaproving when I suggested I test - so I havnt. But with most of you, you do test? any thoughts on this? I think I would feel safer testing as I could see what sends bs up and what down etc.

She seems to think and the doctor too, that it will make me too anxious! Seeing that I havnt been worried enough about it up to now, I think maybe a little anxiety might be a good thng?!!

So let me get this straight… diabetics don’t test in the U.K.? How do you… well, do anything? Yes, a little bit of anxiety is definitely a good thing. If you’re paying attention to it, you generally will have tighter control. I’ve only been diabetic for about 6 months now, and while I don’t feel real anxiety over it, I’m pretty careful and conscious of what I do and my last a1c was 5.7. That would have been absolutely impossible without testing frequently.
I don’t quite understand why a doctor or nurse would ever tell a diabetic not to test…

You’re pre-diabetic? I’m not really sure why it is like that but the doctors and nurses probably feel that checking your BS at this point is not as important as diet, exercise and weight loss to prevent your prediabetes from developing into full blown diabetes. By cutting back on carbs and following a healthy eating plan you should be able to control your BS and not need to test. Regular check-ups with your doctor will show if things are getting worse and if that happens I am sure they would instruct you to monitor your BS. In my own case, I wasn’t instructed to test until my fasting BG was enough to be called full blown diabetes. However, it wouldn’t hurt to montior occasionally just to get a baseline of your BS, then you can check to see how your diet and exercise impacts your readings. I think seeing an improvement would be a source of motivation!

thanks very much everyone :)…not sure what an endo is? … this is a gp practice - it does seem as if Kirsty is right about their approach. At diagnosis by bs was 9? and they said I could become undiabetic if I was careful with things? … I know I do need to lose weight and in fact am doing so slowly. I have adopted a greyhound and walk her regularly, though she gets tired easily (!)…so about half an hour a day a bout. I have bought a monitor - just havnt been at all sure how to use it. I think I was also told by the pharmacist I would have to get strips from the doctor and as she hadnt been keen on testing, I think this put me off at first. Because of other problems in my life I havnt been to the clinic for a while but am going next Tuesday and will try to get clear on all this!

I do know I am lucky in that I get free treatment and testing here in the U.K. though - I have heard horrendous tales from a friend in New England…:frowning:

In my never to be humble opinion, telling a diabetic/pre-diabetic not to test his/her own blood glucose is malpractice.

It’s also my understanding this new stance in the UK is a result of bottom line econonomics: testing costs the NHS too much money, therefore pressure has been brought to bear on the “scientific community” to report that testing makes no real difference in diabetic outcome.

BS! (and I’m not abbreviating “Blood Sugar”). Testing is the ONLY way a diabetic can learn how his/her body is responding to different foods.

When I was diagnosed, I tested 10-15 times a day to learn as precisely as possible how my body responds to different types and amounts of carbohydrates. I kept it up for close to six months and consider testing the single most important thing I’ve done to get and keep an A1c that runs between 5.0%-5.2%. I currently test 3-4 times a day. I’m 100% self-pay and the strips represent a significant expense. But worth it and worth “doing without” many things in order to pay for the strips which I consider an investment in my LIFE.


Hi Cathrynn,
My youngest daughter is considered prediabetic by her doctor and he has specifically asked her to test her blood sugars at the very least twice a day. She is wheat and gluten intolerant and fructose intolerant. We have to keep her on a very low carb diet. She becomes extremely hyperinsulinemic and her blood sugar crashs very badly when she gets any sugar or very many carbs. The same things happen to her when she crashs as they do to a diabetic when we hit a low.
I am sorry I do not understand why your doctor and nurse don’t want you to test.
My uncle in England, a diabetic, gets his supplies and health visits free too, but only gets 4 test strips per month and only gets a visit to the doctor every 6 months. He has waited 15 months to see an opthalmologist. Maybe it is just the views or opinions of specific doctors.
I would suggest that you keep low carb and keep up your exercise. If you don’t get to check your blood sugars, then those things should keep you as safe as you can get. Good luck to you.

oh!! this is knowledge I wouldnt be without!!! … I think I would really like to test - and, though I certainly am not well off, I would self pay to be able to do this I think. I wonder how much you have to pay for these in the U.K. does anyone know? I really feel I would like to understand how my particular body reacts to certain things and feel a bit cross with myself for not taking this seriously up till now. Well, its not exactly that - I have had and still have a lot on my plate but I need my health because of this really - particularly caring for a very disabled mother. Feel a bit anxious at the thought of seeing the diabetic nurse at the clinic next week…oh dear…:(…she is quite a fierce one, though I do like her - but she doesnt take discussion very well…hmmmm…sigh…can I just buy these strips from the pharmacy then? then I can test and she need never know!!! thanks loads…Cathrynn x

There was a recent report out from NHS that suggested that people who are not insulin-dependent might get more anxious from testing than from just letting their GP handle it. The study was extremely flawed: it used too few people, for too short a period of time, did not have them test frequently enough, and did not explain to them what to do with the results they got.

Many of us here in the States believe the study may have been skewed specifically to save NHS money b/c now they can say, “see? it’ll only make her anxious!”

I don’t know how open most newly-diagnosed older people are towards testing. My mom’s doctor never brought it up with her, and from what I can tell, Medicare won’t cover enough supplies for testing to have any real therapeutic value (only one test every day or every other day). When my doctor said my insurance (old insurance) would not cover more than one test a day, I found it cheaper to buy the strips on my own through mail-order, because I was testing between five and eight times a day just as basic maintenance. (The manufacturer of my original meter, an Accu-Chek Active, introduced me to the idea of “tight control” early on, and I’m a strong proponent of it – even if it does sound like a marketing gimmick to sell more test strips!)

I buy all my strips on eBay. It saves me at least 50% over the cost at the drugstore. (USA costs run about $1.00 per strip in a pharmacy/drug store). I’ve only gotten “burned” by one seller in the past two years (strips were defective). Check the seller’s feedback, don’t buy too many strips at once, and make certain they won’t be in transit during hot, hot weather.

As for the diabetic nurse: it’s your eyes, limbs, kidneys, brain, cardiovascular system at risk. I know you’re “stuck” with her (I lived in the UK and know you often can’t choose your health care providers) so just smile and ignore her. Easier said than done, I know, but give it a try. Caring for your own mother is enough stress in one life; you don’t need to put up with a dictatorial and woefully ignorant nurse, too!


Sarah…thanks!..:)…I think I’ll stick to this community as a nurse and for information…lol…learned just so much just in these few posts…wow! I have just signed in for ebay - soooo…here goes…:slight_smile: C x

I qualify as an older person – NOT testing would make me anxious. Testing represents information. Data. Knowing always decreases anxiety. My father, a doctor diagnosed at age 89 with diabetes tested 6-8 times a day until his death earlier this year. It was a real battle with Medicare to get coverage of his supplies but I’m a persistent soul and prevailed. “To the barricades”.

getting a bit muddled with who I am replying to…tmana…thank you…I have an Accu-Chek Active and must set my mind to sorting out how to use this over the weekend sometime…have machine phobia a bit, like many people…!..these posts are making me feel much more relaxed, they really are. I need to go next Tuesday as havnt had a fasting BS reading for absolutely ages - but then I will just listen to her - and go my own way…chuckle…C x

I would really like to contact a few of the people who have replied on this thread but cant find them! is there any quick way to get back to their pages, other than searching through the members? Thanks…:slight_smile: Cathrynn x

I would think bs testing is absolutely essential. That seems just absurd that its frowned upon.

Greetings, Cathrynn…it boggles the mind to think that your G.P. would not support you in testing at home! Did you say that your fasting B.G. was 9!!! That is indeed diabetes, though even if it were not, pre-diabetes is a red flag, and self monitoring allows you to be able to balance food/activity etc. I acquired a B.G. meter as a pre-diabetic …another reason to test at that stage as well, is that often in pre-diabetes, your readings are all over the place…personally, I would insist on it…good luck Cathrynn…linda in canada :slight_smile:

Hear hear!..I’m on the same page…this “no testing” is absolutely ridiculous!!!

I need to apply myself to learn much more, Linda…I am hoping it is not 9 now, as I have been careful this last year, and feel really motivated now to get myself in order.= havnt had a fasting test for ages…oh dear!..see you soon…:)…thanks…Cathrynn x

Here, in Canada, we don’t require a prescription to purchase test strips at the pharmacy, however the prescription requisition is handy when claiming one’s taxes. In my case, we do have fair coverage via my husband’s place of work; to which I need only to pay a dispensing fee of $5. Since we do have a substantial amount of prescriptions to fill on a regular basis, even the dispensing fees add up to a tidy sum by the year’s end which we can also claim on our taxes…every little bit helps!

Well, you know, if it is 9…there’s not much you can do other than go from there…think positive…every step in the right direction is a feather in your cap…I’m going for blood work this Saturday, B.G., also cholesterol (which is off), and potassium (which is low). I have a propensity to get all worked up over these, which doesn’t help…sigh!..I suppose I should follow my own advice, right?

My GP (who is a quintesential pill pusher) is very supportive of BG testing. By noting how what I eat affects my BG I have brought my A1C from 10+ to 6.0. You are in control of your body!