Diabetes: how is the technology that monitors glucose and improves disease control

The Argentine Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism awarded the research as the best publication of 2021 (Getty Images)

In the world, more than 450 million people suffer from diabetes and it is estimated that 40% of patients do not control their glucose levels with the recommended frequency, which makes medical care of the pathology difficult.

Now, a study of 5,000 diabetes patients conducted in Argentina showed that the more frequent glucose monitoring is associated with a shorter amount of time glucose levels are below or above recommendedwhich represents a better disease control.

The study participants used for the measurement the flash technology system, which does not require pricking your fingers. The Argentine Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism awarded the research as the best post of 2021.

The research, carried out by Argentine experts, analyzed the data collected on devices from more than 5,000 patients. It was observed that study participants monitored their glucose levels an average of 14.5 times per daya fact that contrast with the 4 or 5 times of patients who are controlled by traditional test strips.

The flash system consists of a small sensor that lasts up to 14 days, is placed on the arm and, minute by minute, measures glucose levels through a small filament that is placed just under the skin (courtesy: Abbot Laboratory)
The flash system consists of a small sensor that lasts up to 14 days, is placed on the arm and, minute by minute, measures glucose levels through a small filament that is placed just under the skin (courtesy: Abbot Laboratory)

Increase the number of daily measurements implied a better control of the diabetes of the study participants, since it was observed that the users of this technology (in the study the FreeStyle Libre flash system of laboratories abbot) they improved their estimated glycosylated hemoglobin levels (an indicator that shows the average glycaemia during the last 3 months) and also stayed longer with their glucose levels within therapeutic targetswhat is known as “time in range”.

The percentage of time in range reveals critical components of glycemic control that cannot be seen with traditional measurement of glycosylated hemoglobin. They are not antagonistic values, but rather complement and enhance each other”, affirmed the Doctors León Litwak and Matías Rétwo of the study authors “Real-world flash glucose monitoring in Argentina”.

Previous research had revealed that globally, 4 out of 10 patients do not measure their glucose with the recommended frequency. The reasons behind this are multiple: needle stick pain, discomfort, forgetfulness, or missing test strips.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that appears when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (hormone that regulates blood sugar) or when the body does not effectively use the insulin it produces (Getty Images)
Diabetes is a chronic disease that appears when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (hormone that regulates blood sugar) or when the body does not effectively use the insulin it produces (Getty Images)

“We knew that those patients who used flash technology controlled their glucose levels more frequently and that this resulted in better management and greater control of their disease, but it was something that until now had not been demonstrated in a large-scale investigation with a significant number of patients. Today we are pleased to have this evidence, the results were convincing and exceeded our most optimistic expectations“said the doctor León Litwak, diabetologist, associate of the Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nuclear Medicine Service of the Italian Hospital of the City of Buenos Aires.

The specialist pointed out thatIt is not usual to have representative local figures and this research provides us with real data that allows us to make decisions for the future.either. This publication will bring the information closer to all professionals who deal with diabetes and we trust that will help more people with diabetes have better glucose control.

For the study, data from the FreeStyle Libre flash system of laboratories abbotconsisting of a small sensor that lasts up to 14 daysis placed on the arm and, minute by minute, measures glucose levels in interstitial fluid using a small filament which is placed just under the skin. To measure glucose, simply hold up your smartphone with the FreeStyle Libre Link app (free) or a reader the size of a small cell phone.

After each scanningthe patient can see his current glucose levela trend arrow that tells you where your glucose is going, and a record of the last 8 hours. All this information, along with the rest of the reports created by the system, allows both patients and health professionals to make better treatment decisions.

In Argentina, 1 in 8 (12.7%) of those over 18 years of age have diabetes according to the results of the 4th National Survey of Risk Factors released in 2019 (Getty)
In Argentina, 1 in 8 (12.7%) of those over 18 years of age have diabetes according to the results of the 4th National Survey of Risk Factors released in 2019 (Getty)

“Already in the real life experience with our patients we observed improvements in those who used this technology. Now, the study allows us to validate and support with scientific evidence what we saw daily in the clinics”, stated the authors of the investigation.

Glucose control is a fundamental pillar in diabetes. Traditionally, many people do not achieve a correct measurement and that already conditions the approach. Having this important tool, which has now also been empirically shown to provide a real benefit in treatment, is very positive for the future of diabetes”, described Dr. Matías Ré, diabetologist doctor at the Italian Hospital of La Plata and the San Juan de Dios Interzonal Hospital.

People with diabetes live with a chronic disease and must modify their eating and physical activity habits, attend regular check-ups and, in most cases, receive medication. “Being able to alleviate one of the aspects of their condition and with something as frequent as avoiding the various daily finger pricks, undoubtedly contributes to improving the quality of life and, ultimately, to better control of the disease”highlighted Dr. Ré.

“We can say, based on evidencethat the flash technology of the FreeStyle Libre system is an ally in the control of diabetes, since continuous monitoring allows the patient and their healthcare professional to make therapeutic decisions that will help avoid the potential damage attributable to poor control of the disease over time”, stressed Dr. litwak.

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A continent sick with diabetes: 450 million people suffer from it in the world
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A short walk after eating helps fight diabetes, according to a study


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