Tired of taking insulin shots? Find out what the latest new diabetes technology has to offer
New diabetes technology, in the form of a partial artificial pancreas, may soon be available to help people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes manage their need for insulin. Researchers have been working for years on a “closed-loop” artificial pancreas that monitors the wearer’s glucose levels and delivers insulin automatically. While technology has not quite managed to achieve that level of automation, the first hybrid closed loop system, Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G, is one step closer. The new diabetes technology has been approved for sale and the device is expected to be available for patients in the late spring of 2017. Other companies are working on similar systems that are expected to hit the market in 2020.
Individuals with type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin, so they are completely dependent on the administration of insulin to keep their blood glucose levels in a healthy range. Some people with type 2 diabetes also require insulin. For these individuals, keeping blood glucose levels in the target range can be an involved process, requiring them to count carbs, monitor blood glucose levels, and calculate the required amount of insulin. The new hybrid artificial pancreas insulin delivery systems combine an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM), and a smartphone application that allows the two systems to communicate and deliver basal insulin as needed.
How the new diabetes gadgets work
Hybrid artificial pancreas devices take into account a range of information including activity level, glucose readings, carb intake and other considerations, using the data to automatically calculate the wearer’s insulin needs. The new diabetes gadgets then automatically deliver basal-doses of insulin without input from the wearer. This ability is of particular interest because it allows the wearer to sleep through the night without having to get up to monitor and adjust insulin to keep blood glucose levels in safe ranges.
These devices are considered hybrid or partial artificial pancreas because they still need wearer input to manage mealtime insulin delivery. Wearers must input their carb gram information; the system then calculates how large the insulin bolus needs to be. Outside of mealtimes, however, these new insulin pumps automatically monitor rising glucose levels and decrease or increase insulin as needed.
While these partial artificial pancreas devices represent the latest in diabetes technology, new insulin pumps are currently available that make insulin calculation and delivery far easier than it was just a few years ago. These pumps offer a number of features that simplify diabetes management for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, so they can spend less time fretting over blood glucose levels and insulin delivery. Some of these features, including the ability to deliver very small basal and bolus dosing increments, wireless connectivity with blood glucose meters, and integration with a continuous glucose monitor, enable better control of glucose highs and lows that present a health risk. Other features increase convenience, such as tube-free operation, using a handheld device to adjust pump functions, and delivering insulin via a pod attached to the skin.
For the latest in diabetes information and tips on living a full life while managing diabetes, turn to www.BetterHealthKare.com. You will find tons of healthy living advice, diabetic-friendly recipes, exercises, and lifestyle tips that will help you enjoy a healthier future.