Diabetics offered game changer  in new glucose monitor

Modern technology makes it easier for diabetics to monitor their glucose levels.

Diabetics have been checking body glucose numbers for years by pricking their thumbs. But now with a sweep of the cell phone over a glucose monitor, some diabetics get a break from the sting of the finger sticks.

“Diabetes is the inability to utilize the sugars in the bloodstream,” said Dr. Michelle Yates of Steward Internal Medicine in Port St. John. “Type 2 diabetics, typically adults, make insulin but not enough. Type 1 diabetics are not making any and that usually affects people under age 20. A lot of times they start on oral medications where new oral medications help get rid of the extra glucose and have fewer side effects.”

Yates said that left unchecked over long periods of time, diabetes can cause damage to the kidney and brain. It controls everything.

Glucose monitors have arrived. A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) works through a tiny sensor inserted under the skin, usually on the belly or arm. The sensor measures the interstitial glucose level found in the fluid between the cells. The censor tests glucose every few minutes. Several brands are available.

“The reason the new monitors are so awesome and amazing is one of the things that all diabetics have to have is insulin of some type or a shot or a pump,” Yates said.

Type 2 diabetics, if not controlled with oral meds, must be supplemented with insulin.

It allows you to monitor blood sugar and not have to poke yourself several times a day. It keeps track of it for you and you can keep track of your therapy easier and see if it needs to increase, decrease or if it is dropping at night.

If you don’t, it’s a great way to monitor and it comes to the rescue.

“Finger sticks can be multiple times a day, but with a monitor (worn on the arm or abdomen) the diabetic can check anytime they want, treat the number and even report it to their doctor. For so many people with diabetes, this is a game changer.”

Diagnosed 15 years ago, Jim Wondolowski of Melbourne has been finger-sticking his tests four times a day. He tried the monitor, but he found it didn’t work for him.

“They told me I could swim with it but mine fell off in the shower the first time I wore it,” Wondolowski said. “I don’t qualify for the continuous reading monitor patch on the belly.”

Although he still must finger prick, the monitor he now uses requires a tiny amount of blood, keeps a permanent stored record, and can report it to his doctor.