The 14th of November is World Diabetes Day, a day of increasing awareness of this potentially debilitating condition.
Indeed, diabetes sufferers are at risk of heart disease, vision problems, nerve damage and even amputations as a result of complications with infections. However, these risks are greatly reduced when diabetes is managed well, and management of the disease is becoming far easier with the development of specialist technologies to monitor blood glucose levels and provide the correct doses of insulin. Here are some of the latest technologies being developed to help diabetics:
Continuous Glucose Monitors – CGMs
In an effort to replace the need for diabetics to constantly check their blood for glucose levels, medical companies are currently producing patches that monitor blood sugar levels through the skin. One example of this is the ‘SugarBEAT CGM’ by UK-based company Nemaura Medical, which is a sticky skin patch which pulls a small amount of glucose from the interstitial fluid—fluid in the spaces between cells in the body—in order to check glucose levels. There are also more invasive solutions being made to monitor glucose, such as sensors which can be implanted in the arm to measure the amount of glucose in the interstitial fluid, although some people prefer non-invasive solutions.
Although many of these skin patches and sensors are still being developed, apps used to track glucose, diet and insulin have been popular for a few years now. One of these data entry apps is Diabetik, and apps such as Fooducate and MyFitnessPal provide information on the nutritional value of a wide variety of foods, which can help those who are trying to manage their diabetes. Furthermore, apps connected to skin patches like the ‘SugarBEAT CGM’ and also to smart insulin pens like ‘InPen’, which uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone, can also provide extra help with monitoring blood sugar levels and the insulin required.
Scientists are working towards creating an artificial pancreas in the future, which will automatically provide the right amount of insulin or glucagon to decrease or raise blood sugar after monitoring the diabetic’s glucose levels. At this rate of research, an artificial pancreas may become available in the near future.
Are you diabetic, or know somebody with diabetes who has been able to manage the condition more effectively because of technology? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.