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Open Access Open Badges Short Report

Self monitoring of blood glucose - a survey of diabetes UK members with type 2 diabetes who use SMBG

Katharine D Barnard1*, Amanda J Young2 and Norman R Waugh3

Author Affiliations

1 NIHR Evaluation Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton Science Park, Chilworth, Southampton SO16 7NS UK

2 Wessex Institute, University of Southampton, Southampton Science Park, Chilworth, Southampton SO16 7NS UK

3 Department of Public Health, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD UK

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:318  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-318

Published: 22 November 2010



Aim - to survey members of Diabetes UK who had Type 2 diabetes and who used self monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG), to elicit their views on its usefulness in the management of their diabetes, and how they used the results. A questionnaire was developed for the Diabetes UK website. The questionnaire was posted on the Diabetes UK website until over 500 people had responded. Questions asked users to specify the benefits gained from SMBG, and how these benefits were achieved. We carried out both quantitative analysis and a thematic analysis for the open ended free-text questions.


554 participants completed the survey, of whom 289 (52.2%) were male. 20% of respondents were recently diagnosed (< 6 months). Frequency of SMBG varied, with 43% of participants testing between once and four times a day and 22% testing less than once a month or for occasional periods.

80% of respondents reported high satisfaction with SMBG, and reported feeling more 'in control' of their diabetes management using it. The most frequently reported use of SMBG was to make adjustments to food intake or confirm a hyperglycaemic episode.

Women were significantly more likely to report feelings of guilt or self-chastisement associated with out of range readings (p = < .001).


SMBG was clearly of benefit to this group of confirmed users, who used the results to adjust diet, physical activity or medications. However many individuals (particularly women) reported feelings of anxiety and depression associated with its use.