For people with type 2 diabetes, the task of testing their blood sugar with a fingertip prick and a drop of blood on a special strip of paper becomes part of everyday life. However, a new study has suggested that some of them test more often than they need to.

In fact, the research shows that 14 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes who don’t require insulin are buying enough test strips to test their blood sugar two or more times a day – when they don’t need to test nearly that frequently according to medical guidelines.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine by a team from the University of Michigan, focuses on the subset of people with type 2 diabetes who research has shown don’t get a benefit from daily tracking of blood sugar levels. This includes both patients who don’t take any medicines to reduce their blood sugar, and those who take oral medicines that don’t require monitoring.

The study didn’t include patients who clearly need daily monitoring: those who need to inject insulin; and those who take medications that carry a risk of causing too-low blood sugar levels.