LOOK: Diabetics Can Now Monitor Their Blood Sugar Without Pricking
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LOOK: Diabetics Can Now Monitor Their Blood Sugar Without Pricking

LOOK: Diabetics Can Now Monitor Their Blood Sugar Without Pricking

Special Features | June 3, 2021
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Thanks to Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre system, diabetics can get the results of their glucose levels in real-time—no pricking and needles needed!

Diabetics know it all too well. To check your blood sugar, you need to prick your finger to draw blood and get a reading. And being pricked can really hurt! While some get used to it after a while (in fact, one person claims to have done it 10,000 times!), it’s still scary for most.

But why the need for all this? As we all know, people who have diabetes need to control their sugar intake. And this includes adhering to a strict diet. Thus, to keep their blood sugar levels in check, they need to regularly monitor their blood sugar with devices that soon become part of their daily routine.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring vs. Blood Glucose Monitoring

There are two ways to monitor your blood sugar: Blood Glucose Monitoring (BGM) and Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). A common method used by Filipino diabetics, BGM measures blood glucose levels at a specific point in time. Usually, a glucose meter or glucometer is used to get this data.

Glucometers rely on blood samples in order to measure your blood sugar. To do this, you prick your finger with a special needle (lancet) or a spring-loaded device, place the blood on the test strip, and get your results from the machine.

On the other hand, CGM measures and provides real-time glucose levels in a 24-hour period. Unlike BGM, which gets its data from blood, CGM readings are taken through interstitial fluid. Made of glucose, salt, fatty acids, and minerals, interstitial fluid is a substance that surrounds the body’s cells—a fueling station of sorts for nutrients.

Overall, both methods measure glucose levels, but the readings are taken from different sources.

Painless and Effective for Diabetics

One of the many horrors surrounding diabetes is the pain experienced when getting your blood sugar readings. And with the use of glucometers, this can happen very often—especially since you may need to get a reading more than once a day. Imagine pricking your finger more than once a day. Not pleasant at all.

However, the Abbott FreeStyle Libre system puts an end to that. Using the CGM method, data is taken through a small, coin-sized sensor worn on the back of your upper arm. And compared to other CGM devices, this can last for up to 14 days—the longest-lasting available device globally so far.

“The FreeStyle Libre sensor measures glucose every minute in interstitial fluid through a small (5.5mm long) filament that is inserted just under the skin and held in place with a small adhesive pad,” a report by Abbott details. “A quick scan of the sensor with a reader provides a real-time glucose reading and a detailed picture of a person’s glucose levels. [All this] without the need for painful, routine finger pricking or daily calibration.”

Overall, it’s a liberating process that eliminates the need for pricking and yet still provides accurate and comprehensive glucose findings. Physicians can then access these data remotely, allowing them to manage their patients through a contactless diabetes management program.

And yes, much to the joy of many diabetics, the process is painless.

Benefits of CGM Amid the Pandemic

Not a lot of people may know this, but diabetes and COVID-19 go hand-in-hand due to their inflammatory nature. In fact, some studies show that COVID-19 can even trigger diabetes for those who didn’t have it before. And in other cases, people who have COVID-19 can even have “a new onset of diabetes, as well as acute, severe metabolic complications of pre-existing diabetes“.

Given the many risks—from both diabetes and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all the more you need to be vigilant. Whether you yourself have diabetes or if your family, friends, and loved ones are diabetics, you need to be able to carefully monitor your (or their) glucose levels. All this on top of practicing the proper COVID-19 protocols. That way, you can prevent complications from both diabetes and COVID-19.

The silver lining in this, however, is that studies have shown that real-time CGM can “ensure good glycemic control and reduce the number of hospitalizations and invasive procedures“. Additionally, CGM and controlling your glycemic levels are shown to improve the health of diabetes patients with COVID-19.

“The Abbott FreeStyle Libre’s ease-of-use is a great alternative that parents and caregivers can use, upon consultation and clearance from their respective doctors,” the report from Abbott reads. “Without the need for painful, routine finger pricking or daily calibration, [we can] enable meaningful lifestyle and therapy interventions with actionable insights.”

Photos from Abbott

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For more details about the Abbott FreeStyle Libre system, you may visit their website at www.abbott.com or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Abbott. Follow them on Twitter @AbbottNews and @AbbottGlobal for the latest news and updates.

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