Advancements

AV

Technology: A Game Changer in Diabetes Treatments

4 min read  |  May 14, 2024  | 

There are nearly 40 million Americans currently living with diabetes. Their primary concerns? Keeping their blood glucose levels in check and preventing complications from the disease. 

In the past, this required periodically checking your blood glucose levels and then taking insulin medications. Both tasks could be burdensome and, at times, painful, involving finger pricks to check glucose levels and, in some cases, injectable forms of insulin. 

However, in recent years, major changes have occurred in treatments and technology for glucose monitoring and insulin delivery. 

“Recent developments in diabetes technology have revolutionized the life of people living with diabetes,” says Rodolfo J. Galindo, M.D., Director of the Comprehensive Diabetes Center for the University of Miami Health System. “The emergence of diabetes apps on smartphones and other devices, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), insulin pumps, smart insulin pens and automated insulin delivery (AID) systems are some of them.” 

Continuous Glucose Monitoring has completely transformed diabetes monitoring.

The shift began several years ago with continuous glucose monitors (CGM). In the past, people with diabetes had to check their glucose levels with a painful finger prick. CGM allows people to check their glucose levels at any time in an application on their smartphone or a separate device. 

The CGM device is implanted in your body just under the skin, usually on your belly or arm. A health care provider prescribes a CGM system, and it usually requires some training to learn how to use and maintain your CGM system. 

Once you have the basics down, however, your glucose information is typically updated every 5 minutes (or more frequently), and access to that information is only a few taps away on your smartphone. This technology is so effective that it has made painful pin pricks a thing of the past for many people with diabetes. 

AID takes the idea of the CGM and goes a step further.

CGM is the base technology for another breakthrough: automated insulin delivery, or AID. AID continuously measures glucose levels and responds to those levels by administering the appropriate amount of insulin to the patient through an insulin pump attached to the body. 

These new devices automate much glucose monitoring and insulin administration, making life much easier for patients. For patients who use them, their glucose levels tend to always remain in a better range, which leads to fewer complications related to diabetes. Though partially automated, these systems are often called hybrid or advanced hybrid systems, as they still require the user’s input to manually deliver insulin in some circumstances. 

“The OmniPod 5 system is one of the commercially available AIDs, and we use it frequently in our practice,” says Dr. Galindo. “It’s currently the only tubeless system, which means that the insulin pump is included in the pod and is inserted into the subcutaneous tissue. It’s able to fine-tune insulin administration based on CGM glucose patterns or trends to keep glucose levels at a normal range.” 

Upgrade your treatment.

With the breakthroughs of both CGM and AID, diabetes treatment looks a lot different now than it did a few years ago. If you are currently managing diabetes, talk to your doctor to determine if these newer treatment options are right for you. 


Wyatt Myers is a contributor for UHealth’s news service.


References
  1. Statistics about Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, 2024, https://diabetes.org/about-diabetes/statistics/about-diabetes
  2. Interview with Rodolfo J. Galindo, M.D., Director of the Comprehensive Diabetes Center for the University of Miami Health System.
  3. Continuous Glucose Monitors, American Diabetes Association, 2024, https://diabetes.org/advocacy/cgm-continuous-glucose-monitors
  4. Continuous Glucose Monitoring, Cleveland Clinic, 2021, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/11444-glucose-continuous-glucose-monitoring
  5. Automated Insulin Delivery, A Quick Overview, Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, 2024, https://www.adces.org/danatech/insulin-pumps/insulin-pumps-101/automated-insulin-devices-faq

Tags: blood sugar levels, Comprehensive Diabetes Center, Diabetes care in Miami, diabetes diet, Dr. Rodolfo Galindo

Continue Reading