New Blood Glucose Tracking Technology
Sticking yourself with a lancet several times a day is no one’s idea of a good time. It can be inconvenient and painful. That’s one reason many people don’t test their blood sugar as often as they should. Fortunately, lancing devices and blood glucose tracking monitors are always improving. Less invasive and faster devices are now on the market or in development.
Specialized lancing devices
Some lancets can be set for different prick depths to accommodate differences in skin thickness. These devices generally cost between $10 and $30. You also can purchase a needle-free lancing device that uses a laser beam to break the skin on your finger. However, the product costs approximately $1,000 and it may still cause some discomfort.
New blood glucose monitors
Advances in monitoring include:
All-in-one lancet and monitor. An all-in-one lancet and monitor is a device that uses a drop of blood drawn from an arm or thigh. Because fewer nerve endings are in these areas, the stick should be less painful. The device also requires less blood. All-in-one lancets and monitors are priced around $60.
Wristwatch monitor. A wristwatch monitor is worn around a wrist. It detects blood sugar levels through your skin. Readings are taken every 20 minutes, using a low-level electrical current to extract fluid beneath your skin and draw it to a sensor pad on the back of the watch.
An alarm sounds if your blood sugar level rises too high or drops too low. Finger-prick tests are still required at least every 12 hours to calibrate the monitor. The approximate cost is $300.
Other technologies. One type of monitoring system being developed involves wearing a patch on your arm for several minutes. The patch draws glucose from fluid in your skin, and results are read with a portable meter.
Also in the works is a continuous glucose monitor that’s implanted under the skin in your lower chest or upper abdomen. The sensor measures your glucose level and transmits the information to a pagerlike device worn outside your body.
Yet another technology in development uses near-infrared light beams to determine your blood glucose level. The light shines through tissue packed with small blood vessels, such as an earlobe or fingertip, and extrapolates blood glucose data based on the concentration of sugar in the tissue.