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Defeat Diabetes
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New Blood Sugar Sensor Improves Diabetes Control

Posted: Monday, March 08, 2004

People with type 1 diabetes have to constantly check their blood sugar levels, a chore that involves finger pricks and test strips and a special meter. That might all become a thing of the past with an implanted blood glucose monitor that provides a continuous reading.

Moreover, people using such a device have significantly fewer episodes of high or excessively low blood glucose levels (that is, hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia), physicians report in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

Although intensive diabetes control is associated with better outcomes, it is also linked to more frequent episodes of hypoglycemia, Dr. Satish K. Garg, at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, and associates note. They theorized that real-time continuous glucose readings would increase the amount of time patients maintained blood sugar levels in the normal range.

For their study, 15 patients with type 1 diabetes had DexCom glucose sensors implanted under the skin of the abdomen.

The device is a sensor about the size of an AA battery that transmits radio signals to a pager-sized receiver. Glucose levels are determined every 30 seconds, and data are transmitted to the receiver every 5 minutes. Vibratory and auditory alarms go off when glucose levels are too high or too low.

During the first part of study period, lasting about 50 days, blood glucose levels were stored in the receiver, but were not made available to physicians or patients. During a second period, averaging 44 days, the receiver displays were activated. Participants were asked to monitor their blood glucose levels at least twice daily with a traditional self-monitoring device and whenever an alarm sounded.

During the second period, patients spent on average 47 percent less time per day in the hypoglycemic range and 25 percent less time in the hyperglycemic range than they did during the first phase of the study.

Garg's group suggests that infrequent self-monitored blood glucose measurements fail to provide patients with enough information to avoid low blood sugar levels. They suggest that, by decreasing high and low swings in the glucose levels, continuous glucose readings may reduce the long-term complications of diabetes.

Source: Diabetes In Control.com

 
 
 
 
 
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