Monitoring

Optimal diabetes care requires a long-term relationship with the patient, appropriate use of consultants when needed, and regular monitoring and control of blood pressure, HbA1c, tobacco use, and statin/aspirin use. Most patients require diabetes assessments every 3 to 4 months, and some patients may benefit from more frequent (monthly) visits, especially when motivated to improve their care. Use of diabetes educators is recommended, although traditional information-based diabetes patient education mandated by some professional organisations is only moderately effective in randomised studies.[194][195] A multidisciplinary team with access to nurses, educators, dieticians, clinical pharmacologists, psychologists, and other specialists as needed is recommended. Patient readiness to change is a strong predictor of improved care, and readiness to change may vary across the clinical domains of blood pressure, statin use, aspirin use, glucose, smoking, physical activity, and nutrition. Rapid assessment of readiness to change, and directing care to the domain with maximum potential to change, is advised.[196]

Self-management by regular blood glucose monitoring is not routinely recommended in patients with type 2 diabetes, because it does not significantly improve glycaemic control, health-related quality of life, or hypoglycaemia rates.[2][197][198][Evidence C] However, self-monitoring of blood glucose is recommended for those who (a) are on insulin; (b) have had prior hypoglycaemic episodes; (c) drive or operate machinery and use oral medications that increase his or her risk of hypoglycaemia; or (d) are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.[198]

In addition to care required to achieve recommended levels of blood pressure, statin use, aspirin use, tobacco non-use, and glucose control, the following periodic monitoring for complications is advised:

  • Dilated eye examination every 1 to 2 years

  • Annual assessment of renal function including both a urinary albumin excretion test and a serum creatinine test with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) based on the CKD-EPI creatinine equation or equivalent[ Glomerular Filtration Rate Estimate by CKD-EPI Equation ]

  • Annually or more frequent foot examinations including assessment of ankle reflexes, dorsalis pedis pulse, vibratory sensation, and 10-gram monofilament touch sensation. All patients with insensate feet, foot deformities, or a history of foot ulcers should have their feet examined at every visit and are candidates for specialised footwear.[2]

Due to disease progression, comorbidities, and non-adherence to lifestyle or medication, a substantial fraction of patients who achieve recommended goals for HbA1c, blood pressure, and lipid management relapse to uncontrolled states of one or more of these within 1 year. Relapse is usually asymptomatic; frequent monitoring of clinical parameters is desirable to anticipate or detect relapse early and adjust therapy.

Factors that may lead to loss of adequate glycaemic control include medication non-adherence, depression, musculoskeletal injury or worsening arthritis, competing illnesses perceived by the patient as more serious than diabetes, social stress at home or at work, substance abuse, occult infections, use of medications (such as corticosteroids, certain depression medications [paroxetine], mood stabilisers, or atypical antipsychotics) that elevate weight or glucose, or other endocrinopathies such as Cushing's disease.

Loss of control of blood pressure and lipids is also a common phenomenon. Close monitoring of patients with diabetes through frequent visits and lab work helps to maintain patients at treatment goals and proactively identify upward trends in blood pressure or HbA1c, and to reinforce the importance of statin adherence and non-smoking.

Use of this content is subject to our disclaimer