Diabetes Monitoring Devices
Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus is a health condition in which patients have a high level of sugar in the blood. The sugar level is increased due to non-production of insulin in the body or lack of response from body to the produced insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and is responsible for the management of sugar levels in the body. Patients with Diabetes need to regularly check their blood sugar levels.
Continuous monitoring of blood sugar level helps to examine different aspects related to diabetes. Doctors can easily find out how the blood glucose level reacting to insulin, exercise, food, and other factors. It also helps in correcting insulin doses taken by the patients. Monitoring of glucose levels is an important factor used by the medical community to adjust insulin dosage based on food intake. Another benefit of regular blood sugar monitoring is that it helps in correcting hyperglycemia.
There are an assortment of methods and devices used to monitor blood glucose levels, well take a look at some of them here:
Blood Glucose Meters:
One of the most commonly used glucose monitoring devices is a glucose monitor, also known as glucometer. It is an electronic device which measures the blood glucose level. A small drop of blood is placed on a disposable test strip and the glucose meter gives the reading for glucose levels in just a few seconds. These meters are easy to use as they do not need any coding. Most of today’s blood glucose meters have an advanced technology software which allows the patient to download meter results to a computer, thus makes sharing information with doctors easy.Blood Glucose Meters require the patient to also use Fingerstick Devices, which are used to prick the skin of the patient in order to retrieve a blood drop for testing in a Blood Glucose Meter. Fingerstick devices come in two main types:
- Reusable Devices are a pen like devise that can be used repeatedly. Within the devise is a replaceable/disposable lancet. The lancet should be replaced after each use to help avoid infection.
- Single-Use Devices are disposable devices have an auto-disabling feature which prevents repeated use.
Short Term Continuous Glucose Monitoring
(CGM) : Is a short term method of monitoring blood sugar levels. It is a small sensor, painlessly implanted just under the skin in the abdomen, the CGM tests blood sugar levels every five minutes for a 72 hour period. After the 72 hour period, it is then removed. The results are transmitted wirelessly to a cell phone size receiver hooked to the patient’s belt or waistband. The Continuous Glucose Monitoring system is used by medical professionals as method of getting a complete overview of blood sugar levels and how those levels are affected by diet, exercise and insulin intake. It allows for a more appropriate prescription dosage of insulin as well as diet and exercise recommendations.
Long Term Continuous Glucose Monitoring:
Similar to the short term method, these long term methods are used in conjunction with an insulin pump. Typically used for Type I Diabetes, the long term system tests blood sugar levels and the insulin pump delivers the appropriate amount of insulin needed.
Glucose Sensing Bio-implants: Are not available as yet, but are under development. These bio implants would be a longer term method of the Continuous Glucose Monitoring. Researchers and developers are hoping that these bio-implants would ease the burden on diabetics and stop the routine of fingersticks for blood glucose monitoring devices. However, the patient would have to undergo a surgical sensor implantation procedure. These bio-implants would have a life of one to five years depending on the device.
Non-invasive Technologies: Other methods are under development for glucose monitoring in the future. They include: IR detection, ultrasound and dielectric spectroscopy. They are all expected to make the glucose monitoring progress easy and without the need of blood.