Diabetic symptom management can be inconvenient and expensive. Patients who suffer from Type 2 diabetes typically have to monitor their blood sugar levels several times per day, taking a blood sample and testing the glucose level with a special monitor. Diabetics may also need insulin, injectable diabetes medication or oral diabetes medication to help keep their blood sugar levels in a normal range. Unfortunately, many patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes do not monitor their condition carefully, due to the time and money required.
New Blood Glucose Monitoring Technology
Google recently announced they are working through the developmental phase of creating a new type of contact lens. These lenses are designed to continually monitor blood glucose levels in human tears, taking an accurate reading as frequently as once per second. The lenses will project the information gathered to computer software, storing the blood glucose readings for future reference. The lenses are expected to be on the market for purchase in approximately five years, providing diabetic patients with an easy and effective method for keeping track of their blood sugar levels. The contact lenses will track blood sugar levels throughout the day, with no effort required on the part of the patient other than inserting the lens itself. Patients won’t need to stick themselves throughout the day to obtain blood glucose levels; instead, they can simply check the computer records of their levels and share them with their medical professional. Patients will also be able to quickly see the effects that specific foods, medication, exercise and stress have on their blood sugar levels by correlating glucose levels with their daily activities.
Managing Blood Sugar for Diabetics
Many patients who suffer from diabetes experience the symptoms of high blood sugar from time to time. These symptoms may include frequent urination, increased thirst, blurry vision and increased fatigue. If individuals are not regularly monitoring their blood sugar, they may not realize they are experiencing these symptoms due to increased blood glucose or they may not realize exactly how high their blood glucose levels are. Without proper monitoring, patients may not take appropriate steps to treat their symptoms with insulin or oral diabetes medication.
The Dangers of Sustained High Blood Sugar
Poorly controlled blood glucose levels can lead to serious health problems over time. Patients may suffer from severe fatigue, which can make it difficult to care for loved ones, attend work and accomplish daily activities. If patients experience sustained high blood sugar levels, they may experience nerve damage or damage to blood vessels. This damage can cause impotence, as well as nerve pain and loss of feeling in the hands and feet. If patients are not carefully monitored, even a small injury to the feet or toes can lead to serious problems, as they may not be aware of the injury until a severe infection, or even gangrene, develops.
Benefits of Current Glucose Monitoring Tools
Current tools for monitoring blood glucose can be both complicated and expensive. Patients with diabetes who are afraid of needles or blood may have difficulty monitoring their sugar numerous times per day. Low-income patients may struggle to afford the continued expense of diabetic supplies such as test strips, monitors, lancets and diabetic medications. A tool like the contact lens Google is developing would allow these patients to make a one-time purchase and continually monitor their blood sugar levels painlessly — with no need for needles, test strips or continued monthly purchases.
Effective Blood Glucose Management
Managing blood glucose levels is exceptionally important for patients with Type 2 diabetes. To control symptoms, patients should have complete blood testing done regularly. They should also be taught to check their blood sugar levels several times per day, to take medication as appropriate, and to avoid foods and substances that dramatically increase their blood sugar levels. These include sweetened beverages, certain foods and some medications. If patients experience high blood glucose levels, they may need diabetes medications to control these symptoms before they cause any long-term damage.
Patients who suffer from high blood sugar may be prescribed oral diabetes medications, insulin or injectable diabetes medications. While these medications may seem expensive to patients without insurance, the long-term effects of not controlling blood glucose levels can be severe. Patients who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes should, therefore, act to reduce the expense of prescription medications instead of refusing to take the medication.
If you need oral or injectable medication for diabetes but struggle to afford it, you can save money on your prescriptions by using a reputable online pharmacy. These facilities allow you to fill prescriptions from your medical provider at a reduced cost.
About the Author: Contributing blogger Dr. Rodney Sewell practices medicine in Atlanta and contributes to several blogs and medical journals.