Simple educational and motivational text messages can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar better, a new study has found. It is not only an extremely affordable and scalable measure, but one that can be applied globally.
According to the six-month Chinese study, diabetes patients who received the text messages and standard care reduced their glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c ) by more than patients who just received standard care.
The results showed an average reduction in HbA1c of 2 mmol/mol (0.2%) in patients who received the supportive text messages. The group that did not receive the text messages experienced an average increase in HbA1c of 1 moll/mol (0.1%).
For the study, the participants were split into two groups: one that received standard diabetes care and two text messages each month thanking them for their participation, and another group that received standard care and up to six text messages per week containing information on subjects like dietary advice, physical activity, emotional support and blood glucose monitoring.
As well as actually reducing their HbA1c, the group receiving the supportive text messages also had a greater proportion of patients who achieved their HbA1C target of less than 7% (69.3% vs. 52.6% in the control group).
Speaking about the findings of the study, Dr Xiqian Huo, of Beijing's Fuwai Hospital, said: “Lifestyle advice such as strict dietary control may have contributed to glycemic improvements, together with reminders to monitor blood glucose regularly. The messages were designed to provide information and motivation, and help patients set goals and manage stress.”
The results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology on Saturday, August 31 also appear in journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.