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    Five Treatments Turning the Tide on Diabetes

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    More effective glucose monitors

    Glucose monitoring devices continue to evolve. Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre, now available in the United States, has a factory-calibrated glucose sensor that can be worn up to 10 days and provides patients with nearly real-time blood glucose levels.

    A small filament placed under the skin measures glucose levels in skin tissue. Users then use a handeld reader to scan the sensor and learn their glucose level. Because the device is factory calibrated, no routine fingerstick blood glucose tests are required.

    “This is a major advantage to many patients who do not like to stick their fingers, and has been a goal among the diabetes community for decades,” Carlson says. “Glucose monitoring devices will continue to get smaller, more accurate, and more integrated into smart devices.”

    Medtronic and Dexcom also offer advanced glucose monitoring devices. These devices do require occasional fingersticks for calibration, however, they have the advantage of notifying patients if their glucose levels are dropping rapidly or if they decline while sleeping.

    A glucose sensor can also alert patients if their glucose is rising too rapidly, says Kulstad. He says it’s safe for patients to use these devices to make diabetes treatment decisions without the need for a confirmatory fingerstick as long as certain precautions are taken, such as training patients on how to use the device and understand its limitations.


    Next: Release of the artificial pancreas

     

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