New tools in diabetes care are making self-management easier. Diabetes can become demanding when you daily routine involves glucose tests, finger sticks and injecting insulin. Innovative tools are making it simpler to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Glucose testing is essential for many people with diabetes to check their blood sugar levels. The Accu-Chek Fastclix lancing device is the only one that gets it done without seeing a needle. The drum has 6 preloaded lancets and the device features 11 depth settings with minimal side-to-side motion to make testing easier without tearing your skin. Accu-Chek also harnessed the power of modern technology with an electronic version of their paper log book. The app helps you look at one meal, activity or other event and see the effect on your blood sugar before and after testing. Email reports can be sent to your health care team with personalized options such as testing reminders. The app is free at the Amazon Appstore or on Google Play.
- A continuous glucose meter (CGM) gives you a glucose reading every 5 minutes without lancing your finger. A disposable, needle-like sensor is inserted under your abdominal skin every 3-7 days. The glucose in your tissue fluid, rather than your blood, is measured by the sensor. This helps you and your healthcare team receive your glucose levels in real time- 24 hours a day. Together you can make the best decisions about your diabetes self-management plan.CGM works to monitor blood glucose trends before they happen. Lancet stick tests are still advised before taking action such as injecting insulin as researchers work to advance and perfect this technology. Another advantage of the CGM is an alarm that sounds in your sleep if your glucose gets too low or high.
- Patients also have access to a combination continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump. This device makes it possible for patients to monitor their blood glucose and administer insulin through the insulin pump. The system is not automated and patients still must make decisions about insulin dosing. As the use of this device is studied, it could help diabetes patients render essential treatment and maintain a more carefree lifestyle.
- Diabetes information management software is being offered by a variety of industry leaders. Patients can download stored data from their meters onto a computer by using a USB port. They can view charts showing when their glucose levels are normal, high or low. Some software can detect rapid swings in blood sugar to show when patients have over-treated themselves with food or insulin. This information can be shared with your health care team to guide future treatment.
- Smaller insulin pumps are now available. They can be concealed under your clothing. Typically these insulin pumps are about the size of a small toy. They are usually worn on your belt like a tiny cell phone. Short tubing delivers insulin through a tube inserted under your abdominal skin. There are also versions that adhere to your abdomen, arm, lower back or other site. They do not have tubing but use a small cannula inserted under your skin. A wireless, hand-held device is used to control the delivery of insulin. Scientists are already working on even smaller pumps. The future of pump therapy could be disposable pumps in the form of a patch as researchers continue to find ways to make insulin delivery easier.
- Some new tools for diabetes care are effective and others are not. Often there is a period of trial-and-error to determine if the tools are a viable solution for diabetes patients. One example of a failed device was the GlucoWatch. The device resembled a wristwatch and measured glucose from fluid through your skin. Problems included inaccurate readings and skin irritation which made this device fail. Other newer technologies are proving to be quite promising in controlling diabetes. You should research new devices and discuss them with your healthcare team before trying them.
- Google is unveiling a contact lens that monitors glucose levels in tears. This would eliminate the need for diabetes patients to stick their fingers several times a day. Right now the contact lenses are a prototype. Google anticipates it will take five years for these lenses to reach consumers.
- A variety of innovative solutions are being developed to make glucose monitoring less invasive and more convenient for people with diabetes.
New tools in diabetes care are making it easier to monitor your blood glucose, administer insulin and develop an effective self-management plan with your health care team. Discuss these tools with your doctor before trying them. Soon the way diabetes is tracked and treated could be much simpler!
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