Data, Devices and Diabetes
Data and devices are transforming the treatment of chronic metabolic diseases like diabetes. Network enabled intelligent devices have already been with us for quite some time, and now they are revolutionizing the treatment of diabetes. Diabetes is different from other diseases in many ways; it is a pandemic, and the number of people suffering from it continues to grow. As per the International Diabetes Federation, there are already around half a billion people living with diabetes. But what is frightening is that another billion people are pre-diabetic, or are at a high risk of developing diabetes (1). So, let us look at the factors that are causing this pandemic, and what role devices can play in its prevention.
Diabetes is divided into four types: Type 1, Type 2, Gestational, and Other (2). Most people have type 2 diabetes; in fact, 90% of diabetes is diagnosed as type 2 (3). The other three types are responsible for 10% of diabetes diagnoses. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, a condition where our immune system loses its sanity and starts attacking the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Gestational is diabetes in pregnant women, which may or may not progress to type 2 diabetes. In rare cases, diabetes could be caused due to the destruction of beta cells in the pancreas by certain medications or diseases like pancreatitis. But once the three causes have been excluded (type 1, gestational, and others), all that is left is type 2 diabetes, the majority of diabetic cases.
Data as well as devices are known to be transforming the treatment of one of the various chronic metabolic diseases known as diabetes. Doctors have already made use of intelligent devices, which are network enabled, for some time now since they have revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. Diabetes is considered to be a lifelong medical condition, and in such cases, it is up to the individual to take charge of managing their condition. The doctor can act as a helper, but it would be the duty of the individual suffering from diabetes to get themselves equipped with the necessary knowledge. When dealing with diabetes, it is important to measure a lot of aspects of the individual’s lifestyle as well as to maintain this data to understand what has gone wrong, and at the same time to come up with a remedial approach. Good data in terms of your vitals is also of great help for the doctors. Making a note of all this data on paper, however, would not be practical or possible with such a hectic lifestyle. But this isn’t something to worry about since there are a lot of devices and applications available to do that work for us automatically. Also, these devices are known to have a greater degree of functionality, as most of us can imagine. So, all one has to do is get the right kind of devices, and then all the data will be generated automatically. Below is a list of some of these must-have devices:
- Network enabled glucometers: These are traditional glucometers, but with a twist. These glucometers are enabled with Bluetooth and also come with an app for the individual’s smartphone. So, the next time you want to carry out a reading of your glucose levels, the information would be transferred automatically to your app.
- Scales: For those suffering with diabetes, keeping a watch on one’s weight is a must. Smart scales are said to provide a lot of information apart from weight alone. These modern scales have sensors as well as intelligence to help calculate one’s body fat, along with visceral fat, bone mass, water content, daily intake of calories, and muscular mass. They also have a built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth so the data can be sent to an app or a specific online data platform.
- Smart Watch: These have been the latest trend, wherein the watch not only shows the time, but also has many improved functionalities, the same as your smartphone. They are known to have added sensors to keep track of various activities along with monitoring your heart rate; a few of these smartwatches are even enabled to calculate VOX2 max. There are also new watches being launched that can help monitor a person’s blood glucose levels.
- Blood pressure instruments: There are traditional electronic blood pressure machines which also help in sensing one’s heart rate, and a few are even able to determine any irregular cardiac rhythms. Many of them come with wireless technology as well.