Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels in many American communities, and the associated health risks including nerve damage, blindness, and amputation are rearing their ugly heads. Luckily for sufferers and clinicians alike, new diabetes management tech will be hitting the market in 2017, helping patients better control the condition and reducing the likelihood that it will cause further systemic damage.
The main new diabetes tools are digital monitors, including app-linked tools that can help track long-term disease trends. Be on the lookout for these tools in the near future – this is tech with the potential to save lives.
Shortly before the end of 2016, the FDA approved the Dexcom G5, a continuous glucose monitor designed to calculate insulin dosing without added finger prick testing. Instead of suffering six or more finger sticks each day, which can contribute to nerve damage, patients will only need two. The device will also transmit the collected data to a smartphone or tablet, which some patients have described as gamifying healthy living.
The Dexcom G5’s approval is based on clinical trials of diabetics ages two years old and up, making it a valuable tool for parents, as well as older diabetic children learning to be more independent in their disease management. Furthermore, approval of devices like the Dexcom G5 only drives home the importance of pediatric clinical trials for moving medicine forward.
One Drop At A Time
Another late 2016 FDA approval set to benefit diabetics this year is One Drop kit, a device-app combo. The Chrome kit comes with a lancing device and glucose meter, along with other standard supplies, and offers a sleek alternative to standard testing devices. What really sets it apart, however, is the One Drop app, which is available by monthly subscription.
One Drop is positioned to lead the diabetes tech market as one of the first companies included in Apple’s Care Kit, an assortment of health management tools grouped together for use on the iPhone or Apple Watch. Though One Drop doesn’t eliminate the need for frequent finger prick testing, it does better synchronize and track the testing process over time using the app service. At a time when there are apps for all health concerns, this adds significant value for users.
Though not yet approved for use in the United States, clinicians in the UK have begun using a diabetes tracking tool called Diasend that transmits glucose testing data from patients’ devices to doctors to enable better diabetes management.
Diasend is designed to be compatible with a range of devices, including glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors, and insulin pumps. This data can help doctors have honest conversations with their patients about their health management and hold patients accountable for their personal monitoring practices.
Diabetes can cause permanent disability and a shortened lifespan, in addition to the daily hardships of managing insulin. New technology, however, may be able to reverse this trend and help patients help themselves in new ways, ensuring a healthier future.
Short of a cure, new diabetes management technology is the best hope for patients.