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Different Types of CGM Devices

Different Types of CGM Devices

Different Types of CGM Devices

CGMs (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) always have the same three components: sensor, transmitter, and receiver. However, the way those components work varies significantly. If you are new to CGM systems knowing what type of CGM to purchase can be overwhelming.

The first thing that you should do when deciding on a specific type of CGM is to consult your healthcare provider and insurance company. Your physician may have a specific type of CGM in mind for your situation. Or, your insurance company may only cover a specific CGM model.

After consulting your physician and insurance company, then it’s time to read this article. It will explain the four different CGM types, their pros and cons, and how to choose between them.

CGM suppliers

Since each supplier’s CGM is so different, it is worth a quick review of the four main CGM brands.

Dexcom was the second company to have its CGM approved in 2006. They were founded in 1999, so they are much younger than Medtronic. However, Dexcom also excels in the production of medical devices. Dexcom is headquartered in San Diego, CA.

Currently, they manufacture products specifically designed for diabetes. These include CGM systems, online apps, and pumps. US Med offers the Dexcom G5 Mobile and the G6 CGM.

Abbott Laboratories is another American health care company that produces CGMs. They have the longest history of the four companies described here, as they were founded in 1888. But, it wasn’t until 2008 that their CGM was approved by the FDA.

Today you will find pharmaceuticals, devices, diagnostics, and nutrition supplements made by Abbott Laboratories. They do not specialize in CGMs or diabetes-related products. However, Abbott’s Freestyle Libre System is a major trendsetter.

The newest CGM brand is Eversense. Their implantable CGM was approved by the FDA in 2018. Like Dexcom, Eversense specializes in diabetes management systems. They currently offer a single CGM in the United States. Their Eversense XL was approved for use in Europe in 2017.

Different types of CGM devices

There are currently four main CGM systems on the market. Each one of these systems is manufactured by one of the four suppliers listed above.

Guardian Sensor 3

The current iteration of Medtronic’s CGM is the Guardian Sensor 3. It provides continuous readings of your blood glucose levels. The sensor only lasts seven days, but it is 80% smaller than the Enlite sensor.

Plus, this CGM system connects with the Sugar.IQ personal diabetes assistant by Medtronic. The assistant provides information about your daily patterns and how they affect your glucose levels.

Alarms tell you when your blood sugar is too high or low.
Has both Android and iPhone apps.
Can share your glucose data.

Requires fingerstick measurements.
Only approved for ages 18+
Using acetaminophen affects your readings.


Dexcom’s G5 Mobile and G6 are approved for anyone over two. The G6 does not need fingerstick calibration while the G5 does need calibration. The sensor on the G5 lasts for seven days and the sensor for the G6 lasts for ten days. The G6 can even take accurate readings when you have ingested acetaminophen.

Despite their differences, all of the Dexcom CGMs use the continuous tracking method, which continuously monitors your glucose levels. Alarms will sound on these devices when your blood glucose has reached thresholds that are either too high or too low.

Continuous monitoring and alarm system keeps you informed.
Data is sent directly to your Smartphone app.
You can customize the alerts.
Approved for anyone over two

Sensors for both machines have to be replaced often
You can’t reuse the sensors.
Both systems are expensive.

Freestyle Libre

Abbott’s Freestyle Libre is a revolutionary CGM device. It was approved in 2017 and is the first CGM that does not require fingerstick calibration or measurements. In terms of ease of use, the Freestyle Libre cannot be beaten. This is the only type of CGM that does not provide continuous reading or automatic alarms. You must tell the device when you want to know your glucose levels

The sensor is external, so it does not require a physician to put it in. The sensor will also last you fourteen days. The Freestyle Libre reader can store up to ninety days of your blood glucose data, and the sensor itself store up to eight hours of unread data.

Does not need fingersticks.
Covered by Medicare.
Sensor lasts fourteen days.
Sensor can store eight hours of unread data.

The Freestyle Libre system available in the U.S. does not have alarms.
Can not share your data with other programs.
Reader must be charged once per week.

Eversense—Implantable CGM

The newest type of CGM on the market, the Eversense Implantable CGM uses an implanted sensor, which means that you don’t have to worry about changing anything for 90 days. The Eversense XL, already approved in Europe, lasts a whopping 180 days. Because this CGM system uses an internal sensor, the transmitter still has to be placed on your skin, so you will still have part of the device visible.

The Eversense CGM system uses continuous monitoring of your blood glucose levels. Because your levels are constantly monitored, alarms will sound when they go either too high or too low.

Does not need fingersticks.
Covered by Medicare.
Sensor lasts fourteen days.
Sensor can store eight hours of unread data.

The Freestyle Libre system available in the U.S. does not have alarms.
Can not share your data with other programs.
Reader must be charged once per week.


As you can tell, the four types of CGM have similarities and differences. You will find some variation in the location of the sensor (inside or outside your skin), the alarm system, the approved age range, and the sensor life. But, other than that, all four types of CGM work the same. The product you choose will depend on your lifestyle and physician recommendation.

Top Suppliers for CGM

Top Suppliers for CGM

Top Suppliers for CGM

Living with diabetes can be hard enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about sticking yourself with needles multiple times a day. Instead, ask your doctor about Continuous Glucose Monitoring (or CGM). These systems are composed of a small sensor and transceiver device that constantly monitor your blood sugar levels. To learn more about CGM and discover if it is right for you, read this article.

US Med has a number of CGM devices to sell, but you may still be confused about the different manufacturers. What are the top suppliers for CGM devices, you may be wondering? If this is the case continue reading, for in today’s article we will discuss Dexcom, Abbott, and Eversense, the top suppliers for CGM.

What to look for in a CGM supplier

CGMs have only been on the market since 1999. The Medtronic MiniMed was the first CGM approved by the FDA. Since that time three other companies have entered the CGM market: Abbott, Dexcom, and Eversense. But, how do you choose between them?

Finding a CGM supplier with products that will work for you can be overwhelming. But, this article is here to help. Keep in mind the following factors when looking for a good CGM supplier.

1) No matter which supplier you choose, you will be receiving a good product. All of the products from these suppliers have been proven successful. So, do not worry about making the wrong decision. The best CGM supplier is the one who makes a product that will work for you. US Med’s available CGMs can be found here.
2) Is calibration required? Calibration is the process by which your CGM knows your unique blood glucose levels. When your CGM calibrates it takes fingerstick blood glucose readings at specified periods. These readings are then turned into a baseline calibration, which helps your CGM stay accurate. However, not all modern CGMs require calibration. So, if you do not want to worry about this step, we’d recommend purchasing the Freestyle Libre.
3) How long is the sensor life? Sensor life is another important factor to consider when looking for a CGM supplier. The longer the sensor’s life, the more time you have without changing it. Longer sensor life also saves you money because you do not have to purchase a new sensor too often.
4) Approved for what ages? Depending on who you are purchasing the CGM for, this can be a make-or-break category. If you have a child that needs a CGM, then you need to purchase from a supplier whose products are approved for young children. If you are purchasing the CGM for yourself or another adult, then your CGM supplier options are larger. All CGM suppliers’ products are approved for people at least 18 years old and up.
5) Cost? Cost is going to be an important consideration for anyone. The higher the cost, the harder it will be for some people to purchase from a CGM supplier. Also, keep in mind that not all insurance companies will cover CGMs from all suppliers. Make sure to check with your insurance company before making your purchase.

Top suppliers for CGM

Abbott is the manufacturer of the Freestyle Libre. This revolutionary CGM was approved by the FDA in 2008. The Freestyle Libre was revolutionary because it does not require fingerstick calibrations. In fact, the device cannot perform calibrations at all.

The Freestyle Libre has other important features that have put Abbott ahead of the competition as well. First, it stores a whopping ninety days of your blood glucose data. Second, the sensor lasts for fourteen days, which is a longer life than the Dexcom products. Finally, the Freestyle Libre is quite affordable and most often covered by insurance plans.

One drawback to the Freestyle Libre is that it is only approved for people eighteen and older. So, you will not be able to purchase this CGM for a child.

Dexcom was the second company to have its CGM approved by the FDA. The Dexcom CGM was approved in 2006. Now the supplier is on models G5 and G6. Clearly, Dexcom continues to improve and refine its offerings–you will never have to worry about Dexcom’s products being out-of-date.

Both the G5 and G6 are user-friendly and convenient. They are approved for ages two and up, which makes them a great option for families with children. The G5 requires fingerstick calibration twice daily; however, the G6 does not require any calibration. Unlike the Freestyle Libre, the G6 does have a calibration option. The sensor life of the G5 is seven to fourteen days, while the G6’s sensor life is ten days.

The biggest drawback with the Dexcom CGM systems is their cost. The G5 is covered by most insurance plans, but the G6 is not. Both systems can run upwards of a thousand dollars, so most people will need their insurance company’s help.

Eversense is the most recent CGM supplier to have a product approved by the FDA in 2018. It is an implantable CGM system, and so has a sensor life of three months. Their sensor life is much longer than any other CGM system on the market. And, the sensor itself is extremely tiny. You will never know that it is underneath your skin.

Additionally, the Eversense CGM system does not require fingerstick calibration. And, all of your blood glucose data is sent wirelessly every five minutes. Eversense’s CGM system takes all of the guesswork out of diabetes management.


Living with diabetes doesn’t need to be a chore. By finding a great CGM system from one of these suppliers, you can get accurate and life-saving blood glucose data easily. No longer do you have to rely on painful fingerstick pricks. Abbott, Dexcom, and Eversense have all created products on the cutting edge of technology to help you manage your diabetes safer, more conveniently, and pain-free.

Try one of the systems offered by US Med and feel the difference for yourself.

How to Get Started Using a CGM

How to Get Started Using a CGM

How to Get Started Using a CGM

If you and your doctor have decided that you should try a CGM, you may be at a loss for what to do next. You’ve done all this research about which supplier and type of CGM to purchase, but perhaps you don’t know what to do now that you have received your new CGM.

Now you no longer have to wonder how to get started using your CGM. This article covers all of the basics you need to know to use your CGM properly and effectively.

What is a CGM

What a CGM (or Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) is has been covered in other posts on the US Med website. Check out this article for more information.

However, as a quick reminder, let’s go over some CGM basics. A CGM is comprised of three parts: the sensor, the receiver, and the transmitter. The sensor attaches to your skin and tracks your subcutaneous blood glucose levels over time. The sensors have to be changed at regular intervals, with the amount of time you can leave them on your skin varying by brand. The sensor includes a transmitter that sends data to the receiver—often your own Smart devices in modern systems—which then displays the information for you.

CGMs are a great way to reduce the need for daily fingersticks. They have also been shown to help people manage their own blood sugar levels, and thus reduce hypoglycemic episodes. A large amount of data these devices supply help put you in the driver’s seat of your diabetes management. But, they have to be used correctly for you to receive these benefits.

Using a CGM

The sensor is the trickiest part of a CGM system to get right. The transmitter is included in the sensor, so you do not have to fiddle with it at all. And, modern CGM systems all the receiver to be your Smartphone or tablet. So, you will not have to carry around a pager-like device to read your blood glucose data.

When you receive your CGM make sure to completely read its user guide. Every system will be slightly different. Although the steps will be relatively similar, you should check the order laid out here against your device’s requirements.

For the purposes of streamlining, the steps listed below are for the Freestyle Libre system. This CGM does not require fingerstick calibration, which makes it extremely easy to use. However, bear in mind that you will likely need to perform some type of fingerstick calibration if you purchase a different CGM.

To get started with the Freestyle Libre, open your package and pull out the reader, sensor pack, and sensor applicator. Make sure that you are familiar with all aspects of these three components. Then charge your reader and prepare to assemble and apply the sensor.

As mentioned above, applying the sensor is the trickiest part of using a CGM. The sensor for the Freestyle Libre should be attached on the back of your upper arms. Choose an application site that is clean and does not have any skin imperfections. Then clean the site with an alcoholic wipe.

Once your application site is ready to be used, put the sensor in the applicator. The sensor will be completely covered by the applicator—it has a needle, so do not put your finger inside the applicator for any reason. Then put the applicator on the site and press down firmly. Pull the applicator off of your arm and gently press the adhesive on the sensor on to your skin.

Now the Freestyle Libre sensor is applied, so it’s time to align it with the reader. Turn the reader on and press the “start new sensor” button. Bring the reader close to the sensor to scan it. Wait twelve hours initially for the reader to calibrate with the sensor. Then you can track your blood glucose as normal.

Most of the CGM systems on the market will have similar start-up procedures. Clearly, applying the sensor is tricky, but the rest of the process should be fairly automatic. If you have questions consult your user manual, healthcare professional, or the customer service line of your CGM supplier.

CGM Tips and Tricks
When getting started with your CGM, there are a few tips and tricks to remember so that the process goes smoothly.

1) Read your user manual before applying anything.
2) Always place the sensor on the recommended site. Often a specific area of your body is the only approved site for the CGM and placing the sensor somewhere else can cause inaccurate readings.
3) Calibrate your CGM system as your user manual describes and on the correct timetable. Whether you need fingerstick calibration or not, this process ensures that your CGM readings remain accurate.
4) Don’t become too overwhelmed by all the alerts at first. This is an important time in your life with a CGM. As you learn more about how to manage your blood glucose, the number of alerts will decrease.


CGMs can be a literal lifesaver for someone with blood glucose issues. Whether you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, or another blood sugar condition, you should consider purchasing a CGM. In order to have the best CGM experience possible, it is important that you start the process correctly. Once you understand exactly how to set up and use your CGM, the process will become automatic. But, be prepared for the first couple of sensor applications to take some time.

In this article, you have learned the start-up process for the Freestyle Libre and some tips and tricks to help you stay sane as you transition to a CGM. Additionally, our customer care representatives at US Med are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you get off to a great start with your CGM. Contact us today to learn more about our line of CGMs and what they can do for you.

How to Keep Injection Sites Healthy

How to Keep Injection Sites Healthy

How to Keep Injection Sites Healthy

Lipohypertrophy is a thickened, rubbery swelling under the skin that can happen to people where they inject insulin. These lumps may be firm or soft. You may not always be able to see these since they are under the skin. At times you will need to press on your skin to be able to feel them. This condition is very common. Studies found that almost 2/3 of all people who inject insulin have some degree of lipo.

Who is at risk for developing lipo?

  • Patients that use insulin for a long time
  • Patients who do not rotate injection sites properly
  • Patients who reuse needles

How can lipo affect diabetes management?

  • According to scientific data, 22% of the insulin injected into lipo was not absorbed by the body.
  • 39% of people with lipo experienced unexplained hypoglycemia.

How to reduce your risk of developing lipo:

  • Replace your needle every time that you inject. The more times the same needle has been used, the higher the risk of developing lipo.
  • Always rotate injection sites.

How to properly rotate injection sites:

  1. Choose an area.
  2. Divide that area into 4 sections.
  3. Select an injection site in the section that you will start injecting. Use one section per week.
  4. Inject one finger width away from your last injection site.

Lipohypertrophy areas should not:

  • Be hot or warm to the touch
  • Have redness or unusual bruising
  • Be noticeably painful

These are all symptoms of a potential infection or injury. See a doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.

C.G.M. (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) A Beginner’s Guide.

C.G.M. (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) A Beginner’s Guide.

C.G.M. (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) A Beginner’s Guide.

When you live with diabetes a common term you might hear is Continuous Glucose Monitoring, also known as C.G.M.  For the uninitiated to the world of diabetes management, C.G.M. might seem an overwhelmingly daunting task.  All types of questions can present you with a challenge but with a little information such as the kind laid out here can help clear up any concerns.

What is C.G.M.?

C.G.M. or Continuous Glucose Monitoring consists of a transceiver device with an attached small sensor that fits underneath the epidermal layer your skin.  C.G.M. models may vary so it will usually be placed in an area on your arm or your stomach.  This sensor measures glucose levels found in your interstitial fluid, the fluid found between your cells and is a good method of measuring sugar levels of the body.CGM Graphic

These devices persistently analyze glucose levels and sends that data to a wireless monitor nearby.  Depending on the type of device you are using and programmed settings the sensor can collect readings every 1-15 minutes.  If glucose falls too low, it will trigger an alarm on the monitoring device, usually worn on a belt clip nearby.  Some newer models are able to send collected data to a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Who Should Use C.G.M.?

If you suffer from a lot of blood sugar highs and lows, hypoglycemia/hyperglycemia, gestational diabetes, or use an insulin pump, speak to your doctor about using a C.G.M. system.

Pros of Using C.G.M.

  • Reduces the need for traditional glucose checks by pricking of the finger, although most will need to do so on a regular basis.
  • Helps keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • Understanding exactly when your blood sugar spikes can help tremendously on keeping the condition under control.

Cons of Using C.G.M.

  • These C.G.M. systems can be costly and possibly are not covered by certain health insurance plans.
  • Accuracy may be off with these systems at the time of this writing, so traditional glucose monitoring methods are still necessary.

What’s Included in a C.G.M. System?

All available systems now are somewhat different, but will usually include a sensor and a monitoring device.  Some systems are now smartphone, tablet, and computer compatible with special software to interface with the sensor.  Some research would be necessary to learn about the numerous apps and add-ons included with their corresponding systems.  Here at US MED we offer systems from trusted brand names like Dexcom, FreeStyle, Animas, Tandem, and Eversense.

In Conclusion.

Should your health care provider suggest a Continuous Glucose Management system to help manage your diabetes or blood sugar condition, there are quite a number of options available.  Make sure to do some additional research to make sure you get a system that best fits your lifestyle.  US MED has more information on C.G.M. systems below, as well as a number to call should you need additional guidance in choosing the right C.G.M. system for you.



The Effects of Smoking & Diabetes

The Effects of Smoking & Diabetes

How Smoking Impacts Diabetics

Cardiovascular Disease

Smokers have a 30-40% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes over non-smokers.  Smoking also makes it difficult to control the disease and determine proper insulin dosage since it makes your body more resistant to insulin leading to higher glucose levels.  The more prevalent the smoking habit is, the higher the risk of type 2 diabetes becomes.  Smoking has a negative effect on every organ in your body and leads to serious complications for diabetics which include:

  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Poor blood flow to legs and feet which can lead to infections, ulcers, and possible amputations.
  • Peripheral neuropathy (damaged nerves that cause numbness, pain, & poor coordination).
  • Many forms of cancer

As noted, smoking has damaging effects on your cardiovascular system, which can be deadly.

  • 68% of adult diabetics age 65 or older die from heart disease.
  • 16% of adult diabetics age 65 or older die from stroke.
  • Diabetics are 2-4 times more at risk of developing heart disease or stroke than non-diabetics.

Respiratory Effects

Smoking impacts the lungs negatively and can lead to:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Other respiratory diseases

Diseases such as these lead to a higher chance of lung infections such as pneumonia, which can be even more dangerous if you are diabetic, since it would raise your blood sugar and make it harder to recover.  Diabetics are almost three times more at risk of dying from pneumonia than non-diabetics.

Eye Health

Diabetics also have a higher risk of eye disease such as:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinopathy (a blinding eye disease)

Smoking can speed up the advancement of retinopathy and complicate matters which can lead to eventual blindness.

Lowering Your Risk

Avoiding tobacco products should be at the top of the list if you wish lower your risk of complications with diabetes, which can prove to be more difficult the longer history you have of being a smoker.  Smoking is highly addictive so you may start off with a few tips to aid in quitting such as:

  • Make a list of reasons to stop smoking.
  • Set a quit date.
  • Share quit date with loved ones to help hold you accountable.

Some find quitting cold turkey is the best way to kick the habit, others prefer decreasing cigarette intake over time is their best bet.  Another method is with the use of prescribed medications or over-the-counter aids like nicotine patches or gum, but please note that nicotine in these products will raise your blood sugar.

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10 Natural Ways to Combat Diabetes

10 Natural Ways to Combat Diabetes

10 Natural Ways to Combat Diabetes

1. Early Prevention

It’s not hard to speculate why so many people develop diabetes.  Genetics has a lot to do with it, but lack of activity will most certainly cause weight gain, increasing risk factors.  Prediabetes is on the rise, in where raised blood sugar levels are not at it’s peak yet to cause symptoms.  Excess visceral fat stores in the body and lack of activity cause cells to stop responding to insulin for absorption of sugar in the blood.  Prediabetes is seldom tested for, but it’s the most optimal time to prevent it from developing into diabetes.

2. Losing A Few Pounds

Extra weight is the main reason people have an elevated risk for type 2 diabetes today.  Weight gain could gather extra fat around organs located in your midsection which is elevated under stressful conditions due to the stress hormone, cortisol.  New studies indicate that this buildup of fat around the abdomen produces a chemical signal to your cells that instruct them to ignore insulin, reducing blood sugar absorption.  Studies have shown that losing just 7% of your body weight lowered risk of diabetes by 58% making it a more viable option than insulin-sensitizing drugs for diabetics.  Quick cardio exercises 3-5 times a week or daily 30 minute walks can be more efficient at losing weight than dieting.

3. Cut Out Sugary Drinks

Get used to only drinking water, club soda, unsweetened tea, of fat-free milk and cut out all sodas, fruit punches, or sweetened ice teas and other such beverages.  One daily serving of soda increases the risk of increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels by a whopping 44%.  Experts have speculated over the possible reasons but may have something to do with the caloric density of sugary drinks as well as the high-fat foods we tend to pair the drinks with.  Findings also show that drinking a single serving of soda daily has been correlated with being overweight.  It might have something to do with the fact that the high caloric count in the beverages are not recognized in the brain, so you don’t end up lowering food intake as a result.

4. Limit Your Inactivity

Daily activity helps reduce chances of diabetes by moving blood sugar into muscle cells and increasing cell sensitivity to insulin.  Limiting inactivity such as watching TV to 10 hours a week can cut diabetes by up to 43%.  A night at the gym or other activities such as hiking, bowling, and dancing can be great forms of “fun” exercise.

5. Reducing Food Intake

Can fast food lead to diabetes? Studies have shown that two servings per week of red meat such as the kind found in hamburgers were 26% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.  Add a helping of fried foods such as french fries to that equation and that risk rises by another 10-25%.  These foods tend to be high in saturated & trans fats which are detrimental to lowering risks for diabetes.

6. Reduce “Bad Fats”, Increase “Good Fats”

Saturated fats like those found in fast foods like hamburgers clog arteries and increase insulin resistance.  They also cause inflammation, which is harmful to cells, along with those that manage blood sugar.  The precisely opposite effect of lowering your risk can be found the the “good fats” found in foods such as fish, olive oil, nuts, & avocados.  The lowering of saturated fat intake to 7% of total daily calories greatly reduces risk of diabetes.

7. Eat Breakfast

Research indicates that those who skip breakfast are 35-50% more likely to be overweight and/or have insulin resistance than those who do.  Overnight fasting while you sleep puts your body into “starvation mode” and your body has to compensate to keep your blood sugar levels up.  Meanwhile not having breakfast reduces insulin sensitivity as well as increasing appetite throughout the day resulting in progressive weight gain.

8. Get Help With That Depression

When depressed, it is not as likely to find yourself eating well and exercising, although the hazards don’t end there.  Studies have shown that depression changes body chemistry in such a way that it is detrimental to people at risk for diabetes.  Some women in the study have been shown to have 23% higher insulin resistance over women who were not depressed.

9. Sleep More

Constant lack of sleep will eventually lead to weight gain and reduction of insulin sensitivity.  In one research with 1,709 men, it was found that an average of 5-6 hours of sleep doubled their risk of developing diabetes.  The same result was found for women as well.

10. Body Types

Regardless of body weight, waste measurements for women exceeding 35 inches or more and men with midsections of 40 inches or more tend to have fat stores deep in the abdomen, triple the risk of diabetes.  It is not as simple as merely watching total body weight but body composition as well.

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More Than Two Types of Diabetes?

More Than Two Types of Diabetes?

More Than Two Types of Diabetes?

For the past 20 years diabetes has always been classified as either type 1 or type 2, but new revelations show that there could actually be five different types.  New research such as one found in an article out of The Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology suggests a need for a revision to the diabetes classification system.  According to the article, despite experts expressing a need for it, not much emphasis has been given in the expansion of classifications for specific diabetic causes and severity levels.

Diabetes seems to be the fastest growing disease worldwide and known treatments don’t seem to be slowing it down or preventing long-term complications in many patients.  One possible reason is that diabetes is diagnosed based on one factor, how glucose is metabolized, but upon closer observation it is much more complex.  Today, diabetes is classified mainly by age of diagnosis, with younger patients usually having type 1, and on whether there are antibodies or not that attack beta cells which release insulin. Those with Type 1 cannot make their own insulin while those with type 2 can produce insulin but fail to utilize it properly.

New Subgroups for Diabetes.

It has been determined that between 75% and 85% of people with diabetes are classified as type 2, recently a third subgroup has been identified in recent studies known as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA).  Researchers from the University of Gothenberg and Lund University in Sweden are now claiming that additional subgroups are necessary.  To illustrate their claim they studied medical data from almost 15,000 Swedish people with type 2 diabetes and focused on not one but six factors that were documented at time of diagnosis.

  • Age
  • Body Mass Index
  • Presence of beta-cell antibodies
  • Metabolic control levels
  • Beta-cell activity
  • Insulin resistance

From this breakdown of data, five groups with considerably different characteristics emerge.

  • Severe Insulin-Resistant Diabetes (SIRD)Highest levels of insulin resistance  and highest risk of diabetic kidney disease.
  • Severe Insulin-Deficient Diabetes (SIDD)Mostly young adults with very poor metabolic control.
  • Severe Autoimmune Diabetes (SAD)Huge overlap with current type 1 diagnosis.
  • Mild Age-Related Diabetes (MARD) & Mild Obesity-Related Diabetes (MOD)Seemingly more benign forms of diabetes.

These new classifications could help distinguish high-risk patients and help doctors in prescribing more efficient treatments.  It can also be helpful to both newly diagnosed patients as well as those who have had type 2 diabetes for a long time.  Finally, it is not yet certain whether patients can move between these categories over time or if there are other factors that can further elaborate these sub-types of diabetes even further.  More in-depth studies are necessary, but it is clear that using several different factors to form a more specific diagnosis is a step in the right direction.

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Apple Watch Detects Diabetes with 85% Accuracy

Apple Watch Detects Diabetes with 85% Accuracy

Apple Watch Detects Diabetes with 85% Accuracy

The Apple watch is not just a hi-tech fashion statement but is now able to detect diabetes with 85% accuracy, according to part of a larger DeepHeart study with Cardiogram and UCSF.  It used data from Apple Watch users and detected 462 of them as having diabetes using the watch’s built-in heart rate sensor and artificial intelligence-based algorithms.  In previous studies it was found that heart rate variability could predict incident diabetes and hypertension, thus opening up the possibility of using the watch to to detect a diabetic patient.  Other conditions were detectable as well, please see below:

With 1 in 4 adults living with undiagnosed prediabetes or diabetes, it is becoming a growing problem in the U.S. Contributing to the growing problem is mainly the pain involved with checking blood glucose levels and keep their insulin balanced.  Early detection is one of the best ways to get diabetes under control before things get more complicated.  While other efforts have been made to create glucose sensing hardware, this is the first to use ordinary heart sensors paired with A.I. based algorithms to identify diabetes with no additional hardware.

More research is being done to increase the amount of diseases detectable through heart sensors, although caution is given that those in the study were already known to have diabetes.  Anyone who believes they are diabetic should see their doctor and not rely on the watch for diagnosis.  The conclusions are promising and we will see how far these methods will improve detection of diseases with simple readily-available tools used intelligently and efficiently.

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