Thirty years ago, patients were forced to manage their diabetes by injecting insulin with a syringe multiple times a day while following a strict daily regimen that included eating at specific times of the day and eating regulated portions at meals. Today, along with devices like our cell phones, technology developers have made great strides in improving the tools for diabetes management, including the addition of smart insulin pumps and blood glucose monitors. Technological innovation is helping patients with diabetes manage their condition with less effort and easier compliance than ever before, and here’s how:
Automatic Blood Glucose Tracking
Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) are sensors that are carefully inserted into the skin of the abdomen and automatically take up to 288 blood glucose readings per day. One of these devices eliminates the need for finger sticks to help make blood glucose monitoring effortless. Furthermore, they provide blood glucose readings throughout the night, which may help patients avoid certain symptoms, such as the dawn phenomenon or unexplained high blood sugar early in the morning. For example, if a CGM device reveals an upward glucose trend between the hours of 2:00 AM and 5:00 AM, patients are able to adjust insulin doses throughout the night to keep blood glucose stable.
Touch Screen Insulin Pumps That Look Like Smartphones
As with most modern electronics, technological advancements have made it easier for manufacturers to make insulin pumps smaller than ever – and more streamlined exterior makes these pumps less of a burden to carry. An insulin pump with smartphone styling fits neatly in a pocket, and the color touch screen interface is easy for users of all ages to operate.
Predictive Low Glucose Technology
Predictive low glucose technology is a new development that can now help patients avoid hypoglycemic events. Hypoglycemia (extremely low blood sugar) is a serious health concern for individuals with diabetes and is diagnosed by a blood sugar reading level below 70 mg/dL. Hypoglycemia can cause unconsciousness, seizures, and can even be fatal.
This technology works by predicting where blood glucose levels will be in the next 30 minutes. If the insulin pump device notices a downward trend in blood glucose readings, it automatically stops administering insulin to avoid a hypoglycemic event. A randomized study found that patients with type 1 diabetes who used this technology significantly reduced the amount of time (by as much as 31 percent) their blood glucose levels were below 70 mg/dL.1
Talk to Your Doctor About Diabetes Management
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and are looking for ways to manage blood glucose levels more easily and effortlessly, talk to your diabetes care team about treatment options. Your endocrinologist will discuss whether an insulin pump or a continuous glucose monitor is right for you, your level of activity, and your overall health. Additionally, certified diabetes educators can work with you to discuss available device options for diabetes management and teach you how to use and troubleshoot any device that you have chosen.
- Tandem Diabetes Care Announces FDA Approval of t:slim X2 Insulin Pump with Basal-IQ Technology. Business Wire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180621006260/en/Tandem-Diabetes-Care-Announces-FDA-Approval-tslim. Publication date June 21, 2018. Accessed July 23, 2018.