Managing Type 2 Diabetes on a Budget

ThinkstockPhotos-496731472Taking your blood-sugar readings can be an expensive part of being a patient with Type 2 diabetes. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Ilene Raymond Rush reported that diabetic patients spend around $103 a month on test strips.

Rush spoke with Jefferson physicians Serge Jabbour and Monika Shirodkar about why it can be so expensive and how to lower monthly costs.

With Type 1 diabetes, patients must monitor their blood-sugar levels several times a day to track the effects of insulin. But there is varying evidence for the necessity of monitoring sugar levels for Type 2 diabetes, so insurance co-pays can be higher.

According to Dr. Jabbour, Division Director of Endocrinology, certain factors may call for greater attentiveness to blood sugar levels for Type 2 diabetes. These factors include stress, traveling, or changes in diet. Exercise can lower blood sugar readings and sickness, which can raise or lower blood sugars, depending on stress, gastrointestinal issues, and medications.

But if you can’t afford to test regularly, Rush recommends speaking with your doctor to create a testing schedule that best fits you.

“We try to give patients direction,” Dr. Monika Shirodkar said in the article. “Maybe they can check Monday first thing and then before dinner, then Tuesday before lunch and bedtime. Or maybe two hours after breakfast or dinner. It’s highly individualized, depending on the severity of the diabetes, and what types of medications a patient is on.”

Rush also suggests looking into cheaper test strips from eBay or store-brand options.

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