Every diabetic is aware of the constant need to monitor your blood sugar level. Having an accurate estimation of your glucose level is one of the most crucial parts of controlling diabetes.
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Why Measuring Blood Glucose is Important?
- Identify if your blood sugar levels are too high or too low, so you can treat it accordingly and seek emergency treatment if necessary
- Physicians might ask you to record your blood sugar readings so they can customize your treatment plan and figure out what’s working for you and what’s not
- Blood sugar levels can be easily affected by illnesses, exercise, new diets, or stress so it’s important to monitor in those situations
Because diabetes has been around for a very long time – and doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon – many efforts are being put into creating the ultimate blood glucose monitor, resulting in an oversaturated market and a lot of confusion about what works and what doesn’t.
Fingerstick monitors have long been a standard in diabetes control. However, the reality is that pricking your finger multiple times a day to acquire a blood sample is incredibly uncomfortable and frankly time-consuming.
As a result, many people are seeking ways to make the process easier. Several new technologies have emerged in recent years to aid in the creation of blood sugar monitors that do not require finger pricking.
Here are 10 devices that can monitor your blood sugar without pain and without the inconvenience of needles:
- Eversense CGM
- Dexcom G6 CGM
- Guardian Connect System
- Freestyle Libre 14-day system
- Freestyle Libre 2
- HELO Extense Sugar Trends Monitor
Developed by the American company Senseonics, Eversense is a subcutaneous implant that continuously monitors blood glucose levels (CGM). Eversense was proven to be as accurate as, if not more accurate than, other currently existing CGM models.
Eversense Features an implanted tiny medical sensor that’s inserted inside the skin along with a transmitter that’s put on top of it. This transmitter can be removed without having removed the sensor.
Eversense uses a polymer substance that fluoresces in response to blood sugar levels. It uses this feature to monitor glucose in the interstitial fluid under the skin of the upper arm. The information is subsequently transferred to a transmitter, which shows real-time blood glucose readings. Every 5 minutes, the Eversense implant takes a reading of your glucose in your interstitial fluids and sends the information to your smartphone. The sensor may last up to 90 days at a time.
- Displays glucose levels and alerts on a compatible mobile device.
- Provides real-time blood sugar monitoring every five minutes for 90 days.
- Features on-body vibration alarms (even when your phone is out of range).
- Users must see their healthcare professional every 90 days for a new sensor to be implanted, which can be inconvenient. However, Senseonics is currently developing an implant that can last up to a year.
- Eversense CGM is sensitive to direct sunlight. You should discuss this with your doctor before deciding on the best insertion place.
Dexcom G6 CGM
The Dexcom G6 is a sensor that you wear in your abdomen just beneath the surface of your skin. It has a 10-day battery life and is water-resistant. Every 5 minutes, the sensor sends your glucose data to a smart device, such as a phone, watch, or tablet.
It has a high level of accuracy and can deliver alerts for pre-programmed high and low blood sugar readings (as well as when glucose levels are rising or falling). It even warns users if their blood glucose levels are expected to drop below 55 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or lower in the following 20 minutes.
- Suitable for both toddlers and adults (age 2 and above).
- Works with a variety of medical equipment and technological interfaces (such as insulin pumps, automated insulin dosing systems, and other electronic devices used to manage diabetes)
- The sensor needs to be changed every 10 days
Guardian Connect System
Medtronic, a company that also develops insulin pumps, created the Guardian Connect System, a Continuous Glucose Monitor. The user puts on a sensor under the skin of his belly combined with a transmitter that sends your glucose data to a smart device every 5 minutes. The device can also be worn on the arm.
For seven days, the Guardian Connect System continuously monitors and reports glucose levels every five minutes, sending the data straight to a compatible mobile device.
Unlike other CGMs, the Guardian Connect focuses on “time in range” data to offer consumers a clearer understanding of how long they can maintain appropriate glucose levels at any one time.
- Reports blood sugar level trends and patterns.
- The Guardian Connect is only available to persons aged 14 and over.
- Data is sent straight to the compatible device but there is no choice for a separate receiver.
- Both the sensor and the system must be charged.
Freestyle Libre 14-day system
The FreeStyle Libre works via a sensor you wear on the back of your upper arm, which you apply every 14 days. You scan the monitor in front of the sensor to get your glucose readings. The sensor may be worn for up to two weeks and has a 90-day data storage capacity. The sensor will stop functioning after 14 days and will need to be replaced.
- It does not necessitate the use of finger-prick blood samples. Instead, this sensor reads blood sugar from interstitial fluids just below the skin.
- The FreeStyle Libre system provides real-time glucose readings every minute, 24 hours a day.
- The system has an accuracy of around 92%.
- Doesn’t come with alerts for low or high blood sugar levels.
- Only approved for adults.
Freestyle Libre 2
Similar to the 14-day system device, the Freestyle Libre 2 comes with a sensor that’s placed in the back of the upper arm and also depends on interstitial fluids to get its blood sugar level reading.
- The FreeStyle Libre 2 has an alert that will ring if your glucose levels are abnormally high or low.
- While the Libre is aimed solely at adults, the Libre 2 is equally appropriate for kids.
- It works with a variety of different medical, electrical, and software equipment. Automated insulin dosage systems, blood glucose meters, insulin pumps, and other diabetes care technologies are examples of this.
- Some inaccuracies have been reported.
- Potential skin irritation at the sensor implantation site.
Developed by the German company DiaMonTech, D-Base is a shoe-box-sized continuous Glucose Monitor device. In the European Union, it was approved for use by doctors in clinical studies and diabetic facilities and D-Base is currently being developed for the US market.
The cutting-edge device works by beaming an infrared laser through the skin, which causes glucose in the skin to convert the light to heat. The system then estimates the glucose levels depending on how much the skin’s temperature rises, even if the spike is too little for the user to detect.
- In preclinical tests, it was found to be as accurate as test strips.
- One major downside to the D-Base model is its size. It’s a stationary shoebox-size device, which makes it difficult to carry around. However, DiaMonTech is also developing smaller versions of the technology, such as the D-Pocket portable device and a tiny sensor that may be utilized in wearable devices.
SugarBEAT is a skin patch that works differently than any other CGM on the market. It works by delivering a mild, unnoticeable electric current across the skin, drawing a small number of specified molecules, such as glucose, into a patch implanted on the skin, according to the manufacturer. These molecules are drawn from the interstitial fluid, which is found just under the skin’s top layer.
Reverse Iontophoresis (a sort of electrical stimulation used to give medication to the body via the skin) is one of the procedures employed in these devices, and it has been the topic of more than 20 clinical investigations. Both the FDA and the EMEA have given their approval to this procedure (European Medicines Evaluation Agency).
- It has a sensor warm-up time of 25 minutes on average, which is the quickest of any CGM on the market.
- Every 5 minutes, the adhesive-backed rectangular transmitter delivers wireless readings to a companion smartphone app via Bluetooth, which displays an absolute glucose measurement as well as predicted readings up to 20 minutes ahead of time, with alerts to warn the user before any Low or High happens.
- Still pending approval.
The GlucoTrack DF-F is a high-tech earlobe clip that uses three different technologies to assess glucose: ultrasonic, electromagnetic, and thermal. Simply clip the GlucoTrack sensor to your earlobe, and it delivers your blood glucose readings through a headphone-style connection to a smartphone-sized portable controller in about a minute. And it’s there that the glucose level is displayed or even announced verbally.
- Readings may get affected by noise inside the body and wind and temperatures beyond a range of 15 to 35 degrees Celsius.
- It can only be used indoors and alerts the user if the readings are being taken at sub-optimal temperatures.
- Still pending approval.
HELO Extense Sugar Trends Monitor
The new HELO Extense “Sugar Trends Monitor” isn’t a continuous glucose monitor, but rather an attempt to provide non-invasive standard fingerstick glucose testing.
The HELO Extense is a little rectangular gadget that looks like an old-fashioned flip phone but includes a slot where it may be slipped over a fingertip to obtain a glucose measurement after around 30 seconds. While the business hasn’t revealed the device’s mechanics, it is mostly based on LED optical technology.
- Its size makes it easy to transport and use.
- Innovative design.
- It provides a color-coded result ranging from Low/High/Very High/etc. rather than a typical BG number result because it delivers a “health” level rather than a traditional BG number result.
- Still pending approval.
NovioSense is a Dutch business developing a blood sugar monitor that may be worn under the lower eyelid and wirelessly transmit glucose readings to a smartphone. The gadget is made out of a flexible metal coil with nanosensors inside that is only two centimeters long. The coil is then protected by a thin layer of soft hydrogel.
Using the same enzyme technology as traditional glucose strip testing, the coil may assess minute-to-minute variations in the glucose levels of tear fluid.
- According to research findings, the gadget is quite accurate to the equivalent of the FreeStyle Libre in terms of accuracy.
- Still under development.
Although some monitors are still being developed and tested, the above are the current leaders for managing your blood sugar painlessly. Each device has its own benefits and pitfalls, however, to know which one is best for you, be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure all of your needs are covered.