How to test your blood sugar without a meter?
Oftentimes, the idea of getting pricked or poked by sharp needles gives chills to many. Fearing of sharp objects going through our skin is a normal human instinct to protect ourselves. Unfortunately, ever since medicine involves blood testing for diseases and health conditions, poking the skin to access the arteries and veins with sharp needles is an inevitable part of blood taking. This becomes a nightmare especially for patients who are required to test their blood on a daily basis and multiple times per day. The prime example is diabetic patients who need to check their blood sugar before each meal everyday. Aside from the physical pain, patients suffer psychologically. Scientists have been pushing the boundaries to invent the best blood sugar testing; one that does not require any invasive poking, yet can accurately test blood sugar. The advancement of technology now provides a number of options to test blood sugar without pricking your finger and dropping blood onto a blood sugar meter.
- FreeStyle Libre
Developed by Abbott Diabetes Care, the FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System consists of a small sensor patch that is placed on the upper arm and a reader device that is waved over the patch to measure the blood sugar levels. The readings of blood sugar are not of the blood, but in the interstitial fluid found between the cells right under the skin. Although the measurements are not as accurate as using blood reading, this monitoring system is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The patch can be worn on the arms up to 14 days and the reading device can be tracked on an app downloaded on the smartphones. Occasionally, finger tricks are needed to calibrate the readings of the patch and device. Nonetheless, this needle-free blood sugar monitoring system manages to greatly reduce the number of injections required. Thus, patients can be more compliant with their blood sugar monitoring and safely reduce blood sugar. Currently, this system is available in the United States, Canada and Europe.
Designed like a mini iPod connected to a clipper, GlucoTrack was developed by Integrity Applications in Israel. It measures blood sugar by using ultrasonic, electromagnetic and thermal waves sent through a sensor which is clipped on the ear. Presently, it is approved in Europe and is indicated for adults with type 2 diabetes.
Eversense is a monitoring system consisting of a subcutaneous implant that can last up to 3 months under the skin. Developed by Senseonics, it can measure glucose in the interstitial fluid under the skin by using a polymer that fluoresces in response to the glucose levels. The data is then transmitted in real time to the monitor which can be read on the smartphones. Eversense is an FDA-approved device.
A sensor using radio waves that measures glucose levels by placing on the earlobe or the skin between the thumb and index finger. The real-time readings are then sent to an app on smartphones. This device is believed to measure blood glucose level more accurately than other monitors.
The Dutch startup developed a glucose sensor that is placed under the lower eyelid and sends blood sugar readings to the smartphones. The sensor is actually made of a tiny flexible metal coil with a length of just 2cm, containing nanosensors within. The coil is covered by a layer of protective soft hydrogel. Real-time, minute-to-minute changes in the glucose levels in the tear fluid are detected by the coil. In a phase II trial in type 2 diabetes patients, the results found were comparable in accuracy to standard blood testing.
The University of Leeds, UK has developed a laser technology to monitor glucose levels. The device is made of a nano-glass that fluoresces when stimulated by a low power laser. When the nano-glass is in contact with the skin of the patient’s finger, the reflected fluorescent signal changes based on the concentration of glucose in their blood. Readings can be obtained in less than 30 seconds.