Daily health text messages may help in managing diabetes

Daily health text messages may help in managing diabetes

A study found that diabetics who received health-related text messages every day for six months showed significant improvements in their blood sugar levels.

After the trial ended, 96% of the study group participants said the text messages helped them to manage their diabetes ‘a lot’.(Shutterstock)

A team of researchers has revealed that patients, who received health-related text messages every day for six months showed improvements in their blood sugar levels that equalled those resulting from some glucose-lowering medications.

The findings indicated that after the trial ended, 96% of the study group participants said the text messages helped them to manage their diabetes ‘a lot’ and 97% said that they would recommend the programme to friends and family members.

Athena Philis-Tsimikas from Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute in the US said as a low-cost intervention, the team believes that text messaging has great potential to improve the management of diabetes, especially among patients who struggle, due to employment, transportation and other barriers, to access health care services.

The 63 participants, who were randomly assigned to the study group received two-to-three short text messages a day at the beginning of the trial, which tapered off slightly over the next six months. (Shutterstock)

The trial represents the first randomised controlled study to look at the use of text messages to help underserved Hispanics better self-manage their diabetes through glycemic control.

They conducted a research between October 2012 and August 2014 with 126 participants, who were recruited from medical clinics operated by neighborhood healthcare, a nonprofit community health organisation, in the Southern California.

The 63 participants, who were randomly assigned to the study group received two-to-three short text messages a day at the beginning of the trial, which tapered off slightly over the next six months.

On an average, each participant received 354 messages over the course of the study. The texts covered a range of educational, motivational and actionable messages.

After three months, the mean A1C for the group receiving the texts had improved to 8.5% while the control group had a mean A1C of 9.3%. At six months, the study group’s mean A1C was still 8.5% while the control group registered a 9.4% mean.

The results published in the journal of Diabetes Care.