2017: A Year of New Treatment and Care Options for Diabetics Worldwide
Photo: Artificial Pancreas created by Medtronic. Source: US News Health.
New Year's is a time to take on new challenges, make resolutions and essentially wipe the slate clean and start as a different person. It’s also a time to reflect on the previous year and to think about everything that happened over the past 12 months and celebrate what went well, look at what didn’t, and most importantly, remember all that was accomplished.
For Diabetics, 2017, proved to be a stand-out year.
Thanks to researchers, scientists, and advocates, great strides have been made to improve diabetic treatment and care. New, innovative and even less invasive methods of caring and treating the disease were launched, while important discoveries and more information on diabetes was shared.
Technology and medicine really do go hand-in-hand. Throughout the years, thanks to the evolution of technology, many people who suffer disorders and diseases have benefited from faster and more effective diagnosis and treatment options. Diabetes is just one of those disorders and last year, the use of technology certainly made life a little easier for diabetics.
One of the biggest announcements that came out last year was the release of the artificial pancreas. This device, created by Medtronic, pairs computer technology with an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor. Essentially, through a set algorithm, the device measures blood sugar levels and will automatically deliver insulin when sugar levels in the blood get too high. On the flip side, if the sugar levels are too low, the device will suspend insulin delivery for a while.
This version of the device (and there are definitely more are coming) allows people with diabetes to have a bit more freedom. While patients are still required to count and monitor the carbs they are consuming, they can input this information in the pump which in turn helps with the monitoring and administering of insulin.
Patients also have to calibrate their pumps by checking their blood sugar levels throughout the day and entering the information into the machine. The goal is to create more sophisticated versions of this machine that will automate the whole process.
And even more technology!
The second piece of innovative technology that made news in the medical world was the approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of Libre, a device invented by a company called Abbot that has been in use by diabetics across Europe for the past few years.
Libre is another continuous glucose monitoring device. But what makes this one stand-out is that it allows patients to request blood sugar measurements and the subsequent information at any time, rather than it being measured at set intervals throughout the day like many other devices that are currently on the market. In addition to this, Libre gives the patients a bit more freedom by not requiring the use of device calibration through fingerstick testing.
The purpose of the on-demand testing that Libre offers, is to reduce the stress that comes along with being tested at set intervals (as many as every 5 minutes) throughout a day. And, another hidden bonus is the price point; the Libre comes in at a much lower cost than other monitors out there.