Emerging Technology in Diabetes Management


Rania Akkela
Emerging Technology in Diabetes Management

Diabetes has always been at the forefront of technological advances in patient care.

Testing patients to determine how well their diabetes is managed started with measuring the presence of sugar in the urine and gave way to measuring blood glucose by finger prick testing.

According to the best endocrinologist in Dubai, these simple yet groundbreaking advances have been overshadowed by the development of incredibly intelligent devices to help patients with diabetes manage their condition.

Measuring Blood Glucose

One of the key features of improving the outcomes for patients with diabetes is ensuring that blood glucose levels are as near normal as possible throughout the life of someone with diabetes. Whilst finger prick methods can help with this, these only give snapshots of the blood glucose levels throughout the day.

CGMS

The last few years have seen the rise of a technology known as continuous blood glucose monitoring (CGMS). Rather than pricking a finger 10 or more times a day, a sensor can be attached to the skin that has a fine fiber which measures glucose levels in the blood immediately under the surface of the skin.

This information can then be collected by a device which can display the minute by minute recordings, give alarms when glucose levels are too high or low or changing too quickly. One example is the Dexcom 4G which relays the information to a small device with a digital screen and this can be used to help fine tune diabetes treatment.

Delivering Insulin

The initial device to deliver insulin was a glass syringe with a long metal needle which could be sterilized after each injection and re-used for years on end. Things have moved on in leaps and bounds since these early days.

There are now a myriad of pens, needles and ports for delivering insulin to patients with diabetes which are sterile, unobtrusive and highly accurate whilst being flexible to suit the needs of the patient.

However, at the forefront of this insulin delivery technology are insulin pumps which deliver insulin under the skin continuously throughout the day (CSII). The idea is not new and pumps have been around for years, but they were initially large, noisy devices which caused many problems for the patient using it.

MEDTRONIC 640G

Now, there are devices available in the region, such as the Medtronic 640G, which are small (the size of a pager), almost invisible when being worn and have highly intelligent functions which allow for the optimization of insulin delivery and control of blood sugar concentrations for an individual patient.

Using a CSII device can help a patient with diabetes improve their blood glucose control, reducing the patients’ chances of life-altering complications such as blindness or kidney failure. CSII treatment can also reduce the likelihood of hypoglycemia – low blood sugars – which can lead to life threatening losses of consciousness, impair driving ability, and even lead to memory loss and dementia.

MEDTRONIC 670G   

Soon, new devices, such as the Medtronic 670G, will be available in the region and will provide the first opportunity for a real-life “artificial pancreas” to be used. These devices will combine the monitoring function of the CGMS and the insulin delivery of a CSII.

However, in addition, they will have a type of “brain” function that allows for some of the calculations and adjustments needed to control blood sugar levels to be kept in the best possible range to be undertaken by the device and not the patient.

The Future of Diabetes Management Technology

These and other devices in development, will transform the landscape of insulin delivery and treatment in the next decade and will hopefully improve the life of patients and their families with diabetes.

One important feature in all of these processes, whether it is using a CSII or CGMS in trying to achieve excellent control of diabetes, is access to the correct support and advice from trained professionals familiar with the use of these devices and the management of diabetes.

Valiant Clinic has five clinical staff (a consultant endocrinologist, two diabetes educators, two dietitians) trained in the use of CSII and CGMS with a strong background in the management of diabetes and prevention of its complications. When contemplating these treatment options, it is essential to liaise closely with the experts from this healthcare clinic to ensure the best possible treatment plan for you or your relative.

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