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New technology allows diabetics to better manage the disease

By Ken Hanly     Sep 25, 2017 in Health
According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2015, 30.3 Americans or 9.4 percent of the population had diabetes. Diabetics need to control their blood sugar, exercise, and eat properly to manage the disease and prevent complications.
However, new technology provides more tools for helping diabetics control the disease. Diabetes is a condition that results from lack of insulin in the blood or the person's body cannot properly utilize insulin--insulin resistance. There are three basic types of diabetes. Type I diabetes is described by the American Diabetes Association as follows: Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives. Only 5 percent of Americans with the disease have type 1. Insulin therapy plus other treatments are necessary to control the disease.
The most common type of diabetes is type 2. In type 2 diabetes the body does not use insulin properly, insulin resistance. At first, the pancreas simply produces more insulin to compensate for the effect of insulin resistance. However, over time the pancreas is unable to keep your blood sugar at a normal level. Treatment involves altering the diet, exercise, weight reduction in obese diabetics, pills, and as the disease progresses insulin can also be used. The final type of diabetes is gestational diabetesiin which pregnant women without diabetes develop high blood sugar during their pregnancy.
To control the disease properly an accurate record of daily blood sugar levels, activity, food eaten, and medication taken can help control the disease. To keep track of all this data on paper is time consuming. Now records such as that of your blood sugar, blood pressure etc. can be kept on your smartphone as shown on the appended video. There are many different apps that can be downloaded on your smart phone to keep track of various information.
The conventional method for recording blood glucose levels is to use test strips and a small meter. There is with the meter a small instrument that pricks the finger tips, although other body areas may be used, resulting in a small drop of blood that is placed on the end of the test strip. However, there are now devices that can continually monitor blood sugar levels. The device uses a small sensor, a tiny electrode inserted under the skin. The monitor will alert you if your blood sugar goes too high or low so that adjustments can be made to medicine or insulin injection. One brand of the device is shown on the appended video.
The measurement numbers are based on the US system and are quite different than one would have in Canada which uses a different measurement system, as do many other countries.
Sometimes when blood sugar levels are difficult to control with injections of insulin, one or more times a day, an insulin pump can be used which can release insulin as required via a catheter that is under the skin. Early pumps were often cumbersome and experienced clogs. New pumps deliver insulin better and are able to stop delivery before blood sugar levels get too low or start delivery when they start to go too high. An example of a recent insulin pump is shown on the appended video below:
There is much more information available to help diabetics through the internet including many blogs, videos, chat groups, and numerous educational sources. Telemedicine can also improve care especially for diabetics in remote areas. These are just a small sample of the ways in which modern technology has increased the ability of diabetics to control their disease and help prevent complications.
More about Blood glucose monitoring, Smart phones, controling blood sugar