Tiny sensor placed under the skin to replace finger prick tests for diabetes: Smartphone app will alert patients if their blood sugar level drops or is too high
A sensor in the arm may help thousands with diabetes avoid having frequent finger prick tests.
The device, called Eversense, is slightly larger than a pill and is implanted under the skin in a five-minute procedure.
It then continuously monitors blood sugar levels from the fluid that bathes cells just below the skin and transmits the data to a smartphone.
If blood sugar levels drop too low or are too high, the patient receives an alert on their phone, so they can take insulin to reduce the levels or eat something sugary to increase them.
The device also has a vibration alert in case the phone is off or there is no signal.
It stops patients needing regular finger prick tests, which can be painful. It has been approved in Europe, but is not yet available in the UK, though it is being considered by the NHS.
A study presented recently at the Diabetes Technology Meeting in Maryland, U.S., showed it was accurate and effective when tested on 90 adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes for 90 days.
If this type of monitoring was used more widely, it could help to reduce hospital admissions and diabetic complications, according to the charity Diabetes UK.
It is particularly useful for patients with type 1 diabetes —where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the pancreas, which then cannot produce insulin. It affects 400,000 Britons — about 10 per cent of all adults with diabetes.
Patients with this type of diabetes currently monitor blood sugar levels by taking between four and ten finger-prick tests a day, which helps them work out how much insulin they need.
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