New Blood Glucose Tracking Technology That Will Save Your Fingers!
For many people diagnosed with diabetes, blood sugar testing is one of the more unpleasant facts of life. People with type 1 diabetes (juvenile onset) or type 2 diabetes that is managed with insulin may have to test their blood sugars as often as three times a day. Even people who manage their diabetes through diet and exercise alone measure their blood sugar levels occasionally.
Your blood glucose levels are the key to how well your diabetes management strategies are working: If your blood sugar is too high or too low then you and your physician may need to reassess your approach. Additionally, studies of patients with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes indicate that the fewest long-term complications are associated with patients whose blood sugars consistently fall within normal limits – a fact which you won’t know unless you test.
Measuring Your Blood Sugar Levels Now
The traditional means of measuring blood sugar involves the use of a lancet, a test strip and a glucose monitor. Patients prick the tips of their fingers with the lancet to make them bleed. A drop or two of blood is then squeezed out on to the test strip, which is placed into the activated meter. Within 15 seconds in most cases, the meter gives you an electronic read out of your blood sugar level.
This means of measuring blood sugar is problematic in several ways. For one thing, pricking a fingertip can be quite painful as pain-sensing neurons are particularly dense in your fingers. Glucose meters are inherently difficult to calibrate and may give divergent readings from the same blood sample. You may be getting inaccurate results because your glucose test strips have expired or have been stored in an environment that degraded them. Test strips are extremely sensitive to oxygen concentration, and oxygen concentration varies with altitude: Even when the numbers are identical, a blood sugar reading in Denver may mean something different than a blood sugar reading in New Orleans.
Finally, if a patient doesn’t wash his or her hands carefully before the finger prick, contaminants can get into the blood that can appear to raise blood glucose levels significantly.
New Blood Glucose Tracking Technologies
Although the finger prick method of testing blood sugars is still used by practically all diabetics outside the hospital environment, some interesting, new blood glucose tracking technologies are in the testing stages. Here’s a look at a few:
Testing Blood Specimens From Alternate Sites – a new generation of glucose meters is calibrated to give accurate results from blood specimens taken from parts of the body other than the fingertips. The upper arm, the forearm and the thigh have all been touted as far less painful sites from which to draw blood. The problem, say doctors, is that fingertip blood sugars reflect the relatively quickly changing glucose levels in a diabetic’s body most accurately.
Lasers – as long ago as 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its approval to a laser that was designed to draw blood in a painless manner by penetrating beneath the fingertip skin instead of pricking it. Unfortunately, this laser is very expensive for home use.
The Glucowatch – many physicians feel that true state-of-the-art diabetes management would involve continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels. To that end, the FDA approved a watch-like device called the Glucowatch in 2001. The Glucowatch draws minute fluid samples from the skin to measure blood sugar levels, up to three times an hour. Unfortunately the Glucowatch too often tried to measure the sugar content of sweat and perspiration, and so was taken off the market.
Tattoos That Measure Blood Sugar – More fancifully, at Texas A&M University some researchers are experimenting with infinitesimal beads that change color at different sugar levels. These beads can be implanted under the skin; the results look rather like a tattoo. When a LED light is shined on the beads, they glow – and their color is an index to the patient’s blood sugar level.
There is a lot of people talking about new blood glucose tracking methods and technology but let’s not forget all those “old fashion” yet reliable ways that have been proven to work for years – check out ACCU-CHEK, they have some nice printable resources you can use!