Changing Blood Sugar Management Methodology Needed

by Mark Benson on July 10, 2012

New technologies help manage diabetes

As science moves forward, newer technologies are designed to assist individuals suffering from Type 1 diabetes in monitoring their blood sugar levels. According to new research from Johns Hopkins University, newer technology work better compared to the traditional methodologies.

The findings would be published in the July 10 online issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine and recommends that even if these new technology are more expensive, the long run effect on the individual would be better. The comparison was made between the use of insulin pumps compared to those using needle sticks of insulin. It found that the newer treatment provided more satisfaction and better quality of life compared to those undergoing daily needle shots.

The researchers themselves are still investigating how diabetic patients using convenient technologies fare compared to the traditional methods.

According to the senior author of the study, Sherita Hill Golden, MD, MHS, who is also an associate professor in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, “Our study was designed to help patients and physicians better understand the effectiveness of insulin pumps and blood sugar sensors that provide constant glucose monitoring compared to conventional approaches. We found that certain devices confer real benefits.”

Diabetes is a metabolic condition where the body us unable to properly manage the glucose levels in the bloodstream. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the inability to produce insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the blood sugar use. Those suffering from this kind of disease need to keep blood sugar levels at almost all times. It is imperative that glucose levels be frequently checked through blood pricking of fingers to obtain a blood sample to be tested in a glucose monitor. When a diabetic fails to control glucose levels, the individual would be prone to serious and chronic complications, such as retinopathy and organ failure.

Golden and her research team reviewed and analyzed information from thirty three randomized controlled trials, comparing newer technology to the traditional methods of managing blood sugar in the body. The modern tools were basically real time glucose monitoring devices and insulin pumps. The continuous glucose monitors would track blood sugar levels through a sensor attached to the abdomen that is attached to a display system. From the readouts, diabetics can adjust their insulin intake or activity levels. To review the readouts, there is still a need to check blood sugar levels through pricking of fingers and drawing blood, though not as much as using blood pricking as the main means to check one’s blood sugar levels.

The research yielded findings that children, teens and adults suffering from Type 1 diabetes that used continuous monitoring systems had lower blood glucose levels compared to those that used finger pricking methods alone. These individuals also spent less time suffering from hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.

Because the modern devices are costlier, Golden said, “It is important to make sure they are used by the patients who will get the most benefit from them. Those who use the devices as prescribed do the best at maintaining blood sugar control. Adherence is the key to effectiveness.”

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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