New stick-on diabetes device offers a break from finger pricking
Diabetics who must prick their fingers to test blood sugar levels every day often end up with sore and calloused hands – which is why needle-free devices are always a welcome arrival in the treatment market.
A gadget developed under British scientist Jared Watkin is now on the scene that can be worn on the back of the upper arm and monitors glucose levels for up to 14 days. The Libre sensor can work for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Express reports, and it continuously monitors blood sugar levels from a 5mm-long prong that is nestled under the skin and reacts with bodily fluids.
“This system will help people considerably because it will be so much easier for them to work with," said Dr. Gerry Rayman, who recently started a trial with the device on patients in Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk. "I have a 12-year-old patient who has had diabetes for five years. She has been very good but has just hit a brick wall and cannot continue with finger-sticking. Her fingers are all calloused and painful."
Device could lead to better diabetes management
Finger pricking can lead to poor diabetes control if patients struggle to prick often enough due to irritation or inconvenience, Rayman explained.
“Finger-pricking is a hassle and can be embarrassing," he said. "Many people forget to do it so don’t have a complete picture of their condition. Failing to control long-term diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, renal failure and foot complications that can lead to amputation."
Without consistent readings, patients can't get an accurate picture of their daily blood sugar patterns – a problem the new sensor aims to solve. The Libre can store up to eight hours worth of data before it must be downloaded, and it can work through clothing.
Abbot, the company that developed the device, will petition the NHS to adopt it for use, which may ultimately help lower the U.K.'s $10 billion annual diabetes treatment costs. If approved, the device could be on the market for sale later this year.
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