New technology helping people in their fight against diabetes
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — November is National Diabetes Month, a condition that afflicts 133 million Americans — but like with so many things, new technology is helping fight diabetes and head off serious health problems.
KDKA’s John Shumway is here to explain and you guessed it, there’s an app for that.
There are many apps to help you monitor your body and there’s the old finger pricking, but this goes a step beyond.
Diabetes left unchecked can be devastating and life-altering.
“It can increase risk for heart attack and stroke, risk for renal disease and renal failure, and a risk for sores that don’t heal leading to potential amputation,” said Dr. Francine Kaufman, Endocrinologist and former president of the American Diabetes Association.
Dr. Kaufman says that every diabetes patient’s goal should be to control or even reverse the disease, which they can try to achieve with optimal health and an optimal lifestyle exercising and watching their glucose levels.
Traditionally, watching your glucose level required a finger prick or a visit to the doctor for a blood test, but not anymore.
“The best way to do that is with a continuous glucose monitor,” Dr. Kaufman said. “That’s either a transcutaneous monitor or there is an implanted monitor.”
They are monitors that are actually just under your skin and constantly monitoring your levels, and the cool part is that they send data to a cell phone or to a monitor and then also to a smart watch, so you can keep an eye on it yourself and watch your values throughout the day.
Knowing your values throughout the day can help you make adjustments if your numbers get out of whack.
There are a lot of treatments for diabetes but you need to know where you are first — and being proactive can prevent your condition from deteriorating and causing some serious problems.
The implant that Dr. Kaufman is talking about is a tiny sensor that is inserted under your skin by a doctor and has to be replaced every six months.
The surface monitor, you put on yourself and does penetrate the skin and is held in place by adhesive and is good for a couple of weeks.
They are typically covered by insurance.