Le diabète, la recherche et l'accompagnement.
Diabetes, Research and Support
Diabetes: measure your blood sugar levels without needles
Technology has led to improvements in diabetes treatment, and now there are options for checking your blood sugar without needles.
15 November 2015 | Wellbeing
Diabetes is an illness that affects over 285 million people worldwide, many of whom have gotten used to having to prick their finger to take their blood sugar reading. But, as you can well imagine, pricking your finger and drawing blood is by no means a pleasant experience, especially for children who often have no idea why they’re being asked to do so.
Fortunately, thanks to new and innovative technology (in the form of blood sugar sensors) this could soon be a thing of the past. It is hoped that over the next few years these new blood sugar sensors will replace more traditional methods, putting a stop to painful finger pricking once and for all.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard of the release of “alternative” blood sugar measuring technology. Take for example the blood sugar level measuring contact lens patented by Google.
But the most recent discovery is that of using sensors to take your blood sugar reading. These sensors are generally relatively small (around the size of a two pound coin) and are attached to your arm using a sticky pad. The sensor uses a tiny filament (5mm long by 0.4mm wide) to measure the blood sugar level in the interstitial fluid. It takes a new reading every minute. This filament is inserted just under the skin and is held in place by an adhesive patch. This small sensor can be left in place for up to 14 days. It’s disposable, water resistant and most importantly, completely painless.
One of the main advantages associated with these new sensors is that readings can be taken even when the sensor is covered over, so you don’t have to get undressed to take a reading. You can take as many readings as you want and it doesn’t require finger prick calibration.
If the patch is attached to the front part of your arm it’s really important you stretch out the surface of the sticky pad as much as possible. Failing to do so could result in it coming unstuck when you participate in strenuous activity. While expensive these new sensors are a quantitative advancement when it comes to blood sugar management. They also resolve a good amount of the complaints generally associated with diabetes management.
While most people would probably agree that a tiny filament is hugely preferable to a needle there is another device that’s even less invasive. With this one it’s as simple as placing your finger on a sensor. When the person places their finger on the glass sensor a laser measures the duration of fluorescence, thereby indicating the concentration of sugar in the blood. It uses a silicone glass window capable of generating fluorescence by using a low-powered laser beam that is able to measure your blood sugar levels without causing any pain. All you have to do is place your finger on the device and wait 30 seconds for the results. This new sensor is very similar in design to the optical components found in smart phones. Initial studies using the device show that they achieve a precision of 95.5% when compared with the current blood sugar measuring techniques.
In addition it is believed that the size of said device could be greatly reduced in the future, meaning it would conveniently fit into a pocket, purse or wallet. There is even thought being given to integrating the device into smartphones or wearable devices.
The importance of monitoring your blood sugar level closely
It is important the device be able to store the data that has been gathered over the last few weeks. Ideally these statistics will be presented in way that is clear and easy to understand, using visual graphics that can be easily understood by both the user and their health-care professionals. This way they will be able to monitor their blood sugar levels over time and see when fluctuations tend to occur.
It is generally believed that these new devices will effectively put an end to the pain and inconvenience currently associated with having to prick you finger to take your blood sugar reading.
Symptoms , Diagnosis , Scientific research , Technology
Author: Medical Team
© People Who Global, iStock.com
Diabetic ketoacidosis – the diabetic coma
Living with diabetes means learning about the complications of the illness. Find out about diabetic ketoacidosis and how to prevent it.
30 November 2015 | Diagnosis
If you have diabetes you’re probably familiar with some of the more common complications associated with the condition, complications that are nearly always brought about by failing to take proper care of yourself or deviating from your treatment plan. Today we’d like to talk about diabetic ketoacidosis, one of the most serious (often life-threatening) diabetic complications.
What is diabetic ketoacidosis?
As the name suggests diabetic, ketoacidosis is a condition that affects people with diabetes. It occurs when the body is unable to use the glucose found in food to nourish its cells due to insufficient insulin production. As the body can’t get the energy it needs from glucose it starts to break down fat in order to obtain fuel. This metabolic process is known as ketosis.
These chemical reactions produce chemical substances called ketonic compounds. Ketonic compounds are acidic (and therefore toxic) molecules that are eliminated in the urine. If the body goes without insulin for any length of time and has to rely on ketosis (to obtain the energy it needs to function) for a matter of hours the ketone concentration can become so high that it has a serious effect on the pH of the blood.
As the blood becomes more and more acidic (with ever increasing blood sugar levels) the body will try to correct the imbalance through deep breathing and frequent urination. Eventually, as a result of the serious metabolic imbalances the individual may become stuporous (confused) and, in severe cases they can even go into a coma.
What causes ketoacidosis?
Ketoacidosis has been associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, although it is more commonly linked to type 1. Some older individuals with type 2 diabetes can be affected by an associated condition known as a hyperosmolar non-ketotic coma (or hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state).
Ketoacidosis does not generally affect people who take good care of themselves and stick to their treatment plan. In fact most cases are found in people with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. The remainder of cases usually present when the individual has not been administering enough insulin, has not eaten enough or has had a reaction to the insulin(low blood sugar level) during the night.
Ketoacidosis is a condition that can develop in a matter of hours, putting your life in serious danger. The first symptoms generally associated with the condition include a dry mouth and a constant need to urinate. Those experiencing the condition usually register high blood sugar levels as well as a high ketone concentration in the urine.
This generally leads to nausea, dizziness, vomiting and a variety of other symptoms such as dry or red skin and sweet-smelling breath. If you or your loved one start showing any of these symptoms you should ring for an ambulance right away as failure to act could lead to a coma within a matter of hours.
How to detect it in time...
Even if you aren’t experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms you should always keep a very close eye on your blood sugar levels. If you find they’re higher than they should be (i.e. 300mg/dl or above) we recommend testing your urine for ketones. If ketones show up in the test result (no matter what the concentration) you should go to the hospital immediately.
If you have any kind of infection it’s important to take extra special care to check your blood sugar levels. In fact, gastroenteritis is a common trigger for ketoacidosis as you end up eating less despite the fact that your body actually needs more energy than usual to fight the fever. So, if you find your blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, we recommend administering insulin immediately and keeping an eye out for any of the aforementioned symptoms.
Diet , Symptoms , Medication
Author: Editorial Team
© People Who Global, iStock.com
Diabetes and high blood pressure: how to control it
High blood pressure often goes hand-in-hand with type 2 diabetes. Learning to control it is an essential part of living with diabetes.
27 October 2014 | Diagnosis
You can live with diabetes your whole life. But what we all want isn’t just to live: we want to live in harmony, without problems or perpetual worry. That’s why it’s so important to keep your blood sugar levels under control: to avoid certain complications that can cause serious health problems. One of the most common health issues arising when your glucose level is out of balance is hypertension: high blood pressure. High blood pressure is caused when the blood is pumped through the arteries more forcefully.
As you might imagine, this doesn’t have great consequences. The constant pressure can result in damage to your brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and eyes – pretty much your whole body.
Do you think you know everything about diabetes and high blood pressure? What does high blood pressure mean, exactly, for your body? You might have a vague idea, but there’s no harm in reminding yourself every now and then. And if you’re not sure, well, we’re going to explain a few things worth knowing, to help us all ensure a future full of health and quality of life.
What causes high blood pressure?
Unfortunately diabetes is one of the factors that can trigger high blood pressure. Well, now that you’re aware of this… what are we going to do about it? There are many other factors that can influence the blood pressure in your body to rise, so there’s still plenty we can do to try to keep it under control. We’ve listed the most important ones for you below:
- Family history – There’s a direct relationship between a family history of high blood pressure and the chances of having it yourself. If you know someone in your family that was diagnosed with high blood pressure, there is a higher risk that you may have inherited it.
- Obesity – Overweight people are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, being active and doing physical exercise like running, walking or cycling will help you lose the extra pounds your body doesn’t need and avoid the risk of high blood pressure.
- Diet – A poor diet that with a high intake of salt and saturated fat will cause an increase in blood pressure. Make sure you eat healthily and follow a balanced diet.
- Smoking – It is a well-known fact that smoking causes high blood pressure and damages the blood vessels. Stop smoking and you can prevent this from happening.
- Alcohol – There’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine from time to time. As a matter of fact, many experts claim that moderate consumption of alcohol supports the flow of blood in your body and can reduce the risk of high blood pressure. However, excessive alcohol consumption seriously damages your health. Alcohol consumption of over 5 units on a daily basis will likely cause an increase in the pressure on the arteries.
- Stress – This is one of the most common factors that cause high blood pressure. Finances can be a real stress: studies have shown that our economic situation can generate stress, which then leads to a rise in arterial pressure. In fact, people with the worst paid jobs generally are more likely to have high blood pressure.
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
One of the scary things about high blood pressure is that in most cases it doesn’t show any symptoms at all. Nevertheless, in other cases or when the condition is more advanced, you might experience vertigo, dizziness, nausea, headaches, tiredness, tightness in the chest or tingling in the hands and feet.
How does high blood pressure affect diabetes?
More than 20% of people in developed countries have high blood pressure; amongst people with diabetes, this rises to 40-60%. While type II diabetes patients may be diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure at the same time or even before they knew they were suffering from diabetes, type I patients are generally diagnosed with high blood pressure much later in life, when the kidney function slows down due to old age.
When high blood pressure worsens, the damage to the arteries increases. This is why people who have high blood pressure are also at higher risk of a myocardial infarction, kidney failure or thrombosis. The most frightening thing about hypertension is that in the vast majority of cases, the person who has it doesn’t know about it. Without correct treatment it’s nearly impossible to prevent the consequences.
How can I control my high blood pressure?
Your blood pressure levels won’t balance out by magic. It requires a good understanding of your illness, especially if you also suffer from diabetes. Keep your body weight under control, eat healthily and quit smoking. These are just a few of the things you can do to help keep your blood pressure under control:
- Physical activity – Start exercising on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean that you need to sign up for a gym membership or start playing in a rugby team. A simple 30 minutes walking every day is enough to help reduce your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure all in one, as well as helping you get your weight under control.
- Take care of your eyes – To prevent eye complications you need to visit your ophthalmologist at least once a year. And don’t cancel your appointment just because you don’t notice any symptoms. Your eyes don’t warn you in advance.
- Pamper your feet – Look after your feet on a daily basis: check if you have any injuries and keep them clean. A simple injury can cause severe health issues.
- Relax and rest – Stress will only increase your blood pressure, and we know that’s not good for you. Try and relax more and avoid unnecessary problems.
Now that you’re aware of what you need to do to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, there is no excuse for you to start caring about yourself. Bear in mind, the complications that come from diabetes often aren't visible at first. We don’t want to worry about things we can avoid.
Symptoms , Non-pharmacological treatments , Diet , Exercise
Author: Editorial Team
© People Who Global, iStock.com