From apps to gadgets and devices, it’s indeed an exciting time in diabetes, with new products rapidly appearing on the market. At London Medical we pride ourselves in staying current with new technology and strive to be the first to offer our patients devices which can make it easier to man-age their diabetes.
Starting with insulin pumps. While we’re not too far from the artificial pancreas, there is now one pump on the market made by Medtronic which is bridging the gap in the mean time. The Minimed 640G pump with sensor technology can predict when the blood glucose will reach a dangerously low level and suspend insulin. As the glucose level rises the pump resumes insulin delivery, so there is little to no intervening required by the pump user. For those who prefer a tubeless pump, we are pleased to now be able to offer our patients the much awaited “patch-type” pump made by Cellnovo. Historically pumps have only been used in type 1 diabetes, but this is changing, and some people with type 2 diabetes may also be good candidates for an insulin pump.
At London Medical we encourage the use of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). For those not familiar with CGM it is essentially a way to measure glucose levels in real-time throughout the day and night. A tiny electrode called a glucose sensor is inserted under the skin to measure glucose levels in tissue fluid. CGM helps us to best guide the patient and most importantly the patient be-comes an expert in managing their diabetes. And of course fewer finger pricks, which can only be a good thing.
The Abbott Freestyle Libre is the newest CGM on the UK market. It is worth noting that the Free-style Libre calls itself a “flash glucose monitor” as the user is required to move the handset over the small sensor on the arm in order to read the glucose reading.
The CGM giant, Dexcom, has exciting things in the pipeline, such as a device which can be worn longer on the body (currently licensed to be worn for 7 days) and fewer calibrations (currently needs to be calibrated every 12 hours). Dexcom’s newest CGM, called the G5, can wirelessly transmit the glucose data to an iPhone. This means one less item to carry, which people with dia-betes often appreciate.
As with pumps, CGM is not only for people with type 1 diabetes, but can be a valuable learning tool for people with type 2 diabetes. Reason being, that the person with type 2 diabetes can see in real-time what is happening to their glucose and thereby work out for themselves whether for example the breakfast they just ate had the desired effect on their glucose and if not, the meal can be adapted.
On the subject of food, other gadgets in the pipeline include a device which can be scanned over a meal to determine the carbohydrate content of the meal, which can be helpful for people with type 1 diabetes who count their carbohydrates for the purpose of adjusting the rapid insulin dose.