Skip navigation
Link to Back issues listing | Back Issue Listing with content Index | Subject Index

Urine glucose testing is a waste of time

Study
Results
Comment

Bandolier is always looking out for studies that help us understand what patients think about their care. These studies require a different approach from randomised trials for interventions, Patient perspectives are usually obtained through detailed interviews.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes may come with instructions or advice to test for glucose in blood or urine. A Scottish study [1] indicates that patients hate urine testing.

Study

Forty newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes within the previous six months were interviewed initially, and then twice more over one year. Five had GP contact only and 35 contact with GP and hospital. Initially about half mentioned self-monitoring spontaneously, so specific questions were included in further interviews. Transcripts were kept to identify recurrent themes and to identify new research questions.

Results

Sixteen patients performed urine testing after diagnosis, the method (urine or blood) determined by the diabetes service. By the last interview only five were using urine testing, three having stopped and eight changed to blood glucose monitoring.

Patient views on urine testing were overwhelmingly negative, particularly those who had subsequent experience of blood monitoring.

Comment

These results strongly suggest that patients have a significant preference for blood over urine testing, and that urine testing could actually be harmful in some people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. In any event, few people persevere with urine testing. Given that studies from a previous era when blood glucose self monitoring was nothing like as easy as it is now, had similar results, it is hard to see many good reasons for bothering with it. Despite being the views of only 16 patients, we might do well to take note.

Reference:

  1. J Lawton et al. ‘Urine testing is a waste of time': newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients' perceptions of self-monitoring. Diabetes Medicine 2004 21: 1045-1048.

previous or next story