Diabetes management has undergone a radical transformation within the last few years, thanks to technology. The internet has provided a strong voice for the diabetic community. Finger pricks are being replaced by continuous glucose monitors, and insulin pumps and digital patches allow for insulin dosage to be more predictable.
The Push For Change
The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 425 million patients worldwide have diabetes. One in eleven worldwide people manages this chronic condition daily. Diabetes has many potential complications, including blindness, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or the need to amputate part of a limb. The number is predicted to climb to 629 million within 25 years. This has caused diabetes tech companies to work on providing solutions for the easing of everyday struggles with diabetes. The online diabetes community, which is widely active, is pushing to make management of the disease easier, simpler, and more efficient.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Regardless of whether a patient has Type 1 diabetes, wherein the body fails to produce insulin, or Type 2, wherein the body is incapable of using insulin effectively, the patient needs to check the levels of blood glucose regularly. This can mean using a meter up to ten times daily. Further, this requires a prick of the finger each time, which is a literal pain that can be a daunting prospect as one considers committing to this routine for a lifetime. Fortunately, many efforts have been undertaken to replace this routine. DexCom has been working on technologies for continuous glucose sensing since 1999. A sensor is inserted under the skin, and people with diabetes can check their blood sugar at any time through the day and night. One sensor system lets the person with diabetes forget about its presence for three months each time.
Digital Skin Patches
Some people object to having sensors implanted into their bodies, rather like RFID chips. They prefer and push for non-invasive solutions. One such is a sticky skin patch that painlessly pulls a small collection of glucose out of the interstitial fluid. Early study results do provide a caveat that, thus far, this patch is not as accurate as other solutions. However, it is a progressive technology that offers promise.
One technology that has been around for a while, but is ever improving in accuracy and efficiency is insulin pumps. Insulin pumps allow those with diabetes to go about their life without worrying about constantly checking their levels. Some insulin pumps can even predict when a diabetic will need insulin and deliver it in a way that prevents any drastic swings in blood glucose levels. Eliminating swings in blood sugar levels helps those with diabetes to feel better. Pumps can even work overnight while the individual is asleep.
Diabetes is life altering; however, with the help of technology, those who live with the condition can maintain a sense of normalcy. Today’s technological advances in diabetes care can help patients manage their diabetes more effectively and with fewer disruptions to their lives.