Diabetes Technology: Keeping the Chronic Condition in Check
Technological innovations in the field of diabetes are developing at a rapid pace with the promise to ease the daily struggles of patients suffering from the condition. Diabetic patients face everyday challenges like painful finger pricks to track glucose, troubleshooting glucose fluctuations, or deciding how much insulin to take. There are many different technologies to choose from, and they can prove to be powerful tools to simplify lives and better manage diabetes.
Diabetes technology includes blood glucose meters, continuous glucose monitoring, insulin pens, insulin pumps, and smartphone applications.
Blood Glucose Meters
Keeping blood glucose in the optimal range is the primary goal of treatment, and your doctor often recommends self-monitoring of blood glucose. A glucose meter is a device that reads the glucose in a drop of blood obtained via a finger prick. The information helps patients and doctors better understand the effects of exercise, food choices, meal sizes, and medication adjustments.
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Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)
Many patients find multiple daily finger pricks troublesome. CGM is an electronic glucose monitor comprising a sensor inserted underneath the skin that measures glucose every few minutes. Dex Com is a real-time CGM that measures glucose continuously, while FreeStyle libre (Abbott) requires scanning with a smartphone to store glucose data.
These devices help you see what happens to your glucose during sleep, travel, exercise, and other situations where traditional fingerstick testing is not feasible. A single device can last between one to two weeks, with fewer finger pricks to improve quality of life. Studies have shown that using CGM can reduce the time spent in hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and improve glycated haemoglobin levels.
There are different types of smartphone applications to choose from. Data integration platforms such as Glooko and mySugr help to track blood glucose. Decision support platforms such as BolusCalc uses the blood glucose levels and carbohydrate estimate to recommend the insulin dose, and takes the guesswork out of bolus insulin dosing.
Smart pens such as Medtronic’s InPen are the latest innovations that function similarly to traditional insulin pens. It uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone and keep track of insulin doses and timings.
Insulin pumps mimic the function of the pancreas by delivering insulin at a steady (basal) rate and bolus insulin at mealtimes. They are ideal for patients who experience unstable blood glucose levels and are motivated to adjust their insulin dose.
Keeping Diabetes Under Control
When it comes to choosing the right technology, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Discuss with your doctor on how to select the best technology to help manage your condition.
Are you living with diabetes? Find out whether your condition is managed well by going for a routine diabetic foot screening and diabetic retinal photography. Learn more about these services from our Primary Care Network team.