The World Health Organization(WHO) estimates that 422 million people have diabetes globally. One in every 11 people has to manage this chronic condition. But technology is playing a role in making management easier while ensuring patients live a full life.
Technology has revolutionized blood glucose monitoring, diets, and insulin injections. These tasks are central to the management of type 2 diabetes. However, the prospect is still brighter, with many firms aiming to deliver more value to diabetes patients.
We will be exploring some of the innovations available to you on the market today. This article will also lightly touch on some of the projected future innovations.
Technological Innovations In Managing Diabetes
1. Diabetes Smartphone Apps
There are now smartphone apps that take your diabetes management to another level. They can:
- Provide an ever-evolving meal plan;
- Track your blood sugar levels;
- Log your exercise;
- Provide a comprehensive activity log;
- Show a detailed progress tracker;
- Provide you educational content like this post;
- Intuitive syncing of your data across the cloud;
- Guidance and coaching from highly trained diabetes educators;
Although these applications are available on the mobile phone app stores, choosing one that employs fully licensed healthcare professionals is important. For example, Klinio is an app focused on providing the best care for diabetes patients through our healthcare professionals.
2. Smart Glucose Monitor
A recurring theme in the management of diabetes is blood sugar monitoring. This measurement is often done with strips and glucose monitors. However, the previous trend is to replace the monitors when technology advances.
There are now smart glucose monitors that receive software updates. In addition, you can link some of these monitors to your diabetes monitoring apps. This move will automatically sync your blood sugar levels to chart trends and patterns.
3. Continuous Glucose Monitor
According to the NICE Diabetes guideline, if you are a type 2 diabetes patient, you should perform daily monitoring of your capillary blood glucose level if you:
- Are on insulin or
- Have evidence of hypoglycaemic episodes or
- Are on oral medication that may increase your risk of hypoglycemia or
- Are pregnant or planning to get pregnant
The frequency of these checks can be as high as four times a day. That’s 840 needle pricks in a month!
Continuous Glucose monitors are a game-changer. Instead of using a drop of blood to check your glucose level, a small sensor is placed underneath your skin to mix with the fluid between your cells. It records your blood glucose and wirelessly transmits the data to your smartphone.
You can set the frequency to be as high as every 5 minutes. This would be used to chart your blood glucose level patterns and trends. Also, the innovation allows you to plan your diet, activities, and exercises. They combine with your diabetes smartphone app to provide you with the best healthcare.
4. Insulin Smartpens
Some individuals with type 2 diabetes require injecting insulin. You can deliver the insulin from a vial, pump, or pen. These pens have tiny needles that you will barely feel.
Innovation in the delivery of insulin is that of the insulin smartpens. These pens also record the last dose of insulin you used. This record makes the accidental hypoglycemia caused by infusing too much insulin less likely.
Another advantage is that you can easily train children with diabetes to use one. You can input the fixed dose of insulin they will require. Then, all the kid needs to do is pick it up and inject it.
5. Insulin Pumps
Insulin pumps are wearable devices that deliver insulin into the body. They can be as small as the width of a folded dollar bill. You can wear them on your waist, belt, or arm. All you need to do is push a button whenever you want to deliver insulin without the extra work of preparing the needle.
Insulin pumps have revolutionized the management of diabetes. They help diabetes patients live a full and comfortable life. This is most evident in children and 9-5 workers who barely have the time to prepare insulin at lunchtime.
Now, with the push of a button, all that is taken care of. However, something is still lacking; you must check your blood sugar level before pushing the button.
6. Artificial Pancreas
Why do you need to monitor your blood sugar level before injecting insulin? So that you don’t give too much insulin than necessary. The organ also produces glucagon, which increases blood glucose. Maintaining the balance of blood glucose is the major function of the pancreas.
However, some diabetes patients’ pancreas can no longer keep up with the need for insulin. The artificial pancreas aims to replace the function of this organ. The whole process is automated.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved four wearable devices, one as recently as January of this year. These devices automate the whole process of diabetes management. They monitor your blood sugar level and deliver insulin when need be.
Future Of Type 2 Diabetes Management
1. Digital Contact Lenses
Google is collaborating with Novartis to develop a contact lens to monitor your blood sugar using your tears. This information will be automatically sent to your smartphones. You can sync this data with your diabetes monitoring apps to study the pattern of your progress.
This technique will bypass the pain of continuous pin pricks while also serving individuals that dislike the alternative of placing a sensor underneath their skin.
2. Food scanners
Canadian firm TellSpec is attempting to develop a device to inform patients about their food. These devices will aim to provide specific ingredients used and macronutrients.
This development will better help patients with diabetes avoid food harmful to their blood sugar controls.
To Wrap Up
Healthcare in the 21st Century is being revolutionized with technology. Diabetes management has significantly benefited from this. From blood sugar monitoring, information dissemination, and insulin delivery methods to diabetes smartphone apps like Klinio. However, there is still work in progress to push the boundary and develop better ways to make people managing diabetes live full lives.