The number of people suffering from diabetes has gone into millions. Diabetes requires proper care and attention to diet, exercises and medication. Self monitoring has enabled people to undertake glucose level tests regularly as per the need. The blood glucose meters or glucometer that are available are highly handy and easy to use making it possible for you to test the levels irrespective of where you are home, office, school, play ground, traveling etc. The ones that are more popular are the finger stick ones that require a little prick on the finger tip for a small drop of blood for the test. However, these may cause some discomfort when done for a long time. There are studies being undertaken to develop non invasive blood glucose meter that can make continuous monitoring even simpler.
Non invasive blood glucose meter
Development of noninvasive devices may enable continuous monitoring. Research is being done on noninvasive methods for measuring blood glucose, technologies such as using infrared or near-infrared light, electric currents and ultrasound are being tried and tested in several labs of manufacturers. There is one noninvasive glucose meter approved by the FDA: The GlucoWatch G2 Biographer. It is to be worn on the wrist, and uses electric fields to draw out body fluid for testing. However it is no replacement for conventional blood glucose monitors. A limitation of the GlucoWatch system is its inability to cope with perspiration at the measurement site. Before measurement sweat must be allowed to dry. Due to limitations, the product is no longer on the market.
The market introduction of noninvasive blood glucose measurement systems by spectroscopic measurement methods has failed so far because at present the devices measure tissue sugar and not blood sugar. At the moment 2 continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) are available. One is the GlucoWatch G2 Biographer and the other is Medtronic’s Minimed Paradigm RTS. The Minimed is of the minimally invasive type and consists of a small plastic catheter inserted just under the skin. It collects very small amounts of liquid which is passed through a “biosensor” to measure the amount of glucose present. The sub-cutaneous probe is attached to a small transmitter which every 5 minutes sends interstitial glucose levels to a small pager sized receiver. Minimed is not for continuous day to day monitoring. It is used occasionally to discover trends in glucose levels during the day. The readings are not for individual tests and collects measurements over a 72-hour period. The data has to be then downloaded by the patient or healthcare provider. It might help patients to understand the trends to know the best time to do standard fingerstick tests. A prescription to buy MiniMed is required.
There is one more noninvasive meter called as the DexCom STS System which is a hypodermic probe with a small transmitter. The receiver which is about the size of a cell phone can operate up to five feet from the transmitter. It monitors and logs levels at five-minute intervals for up to 72 hours. There are high and low glucose alarms which can be set.
The noninvasive blood glucose meter is not a replacement to the standard glucose testing which is the most reliable system as yet. With improvement these may also become good devices over time.