Author: David Edelman Source: Diabetes Daily (
click here to go to the source)
he development of home blood sugar checking in the 70s kicked off the diabetes treatment revolution. For the prior 50 years, people managed diabetes with only a vague (and often inaccurate) sense of what their blood sugar might be. There was no concept of matching insulin to meals. You took your treatment, cut out the sugar, and chowed down on carbs all day.
But as Ellen Kirk-Macri, the top nurse at London Drugs, said: "The meter took power from the doctor and gave it to the patient."
The Home Blood Sugar Testing Revolution
We can thank Dr. Bernstein, famous for his promotion of a very low-carb diet, for changing this paradigm. In 1969, when when he was still Mr. Bernstein, he procured a three pound, $650 meter for doctors and began checking his blood sugar at home. He slowly began to uncover the connection between the carbohydrates he ate and his blood sugars. Like a man trapped in a cave seeing light for the first time, he was stunned by the new-found opportunity to achieve normal blood sugars. He became driven to bring this knowledge to the world.
But on one would listen. So he went to medical school to become a doctor, fought the establishment that thought he was nuts, and made home blood sugar checking a reality. For the first time, patients could see how food, exercise, sleep, stress and other factors changed their blood sugars without the help of a doctor.
The Future Is (Almost) Now
We are in the middle of the next information-based revolution in diabetes treatments. Expanded access to meters and continuous glucose sensors has given us larger and larger amounts of information. Now the question is what to do with it.
A slew of new technologies are automatically transferring data from diabetes devices to the cloud. There's the Telcare meter that automatically uploads data via cell towers to its web-based application. The Glooko MeterSync cable automatically loads data from most major meters into your smart phone. The iBG Star, which will be released in the next 90 days, actually turns your iPhone into a blood glucose meter. Medtronic's MySentry allows the insulin pump and continuous glucose meter to broadcast its readings to special, large-screen display. Soon we will have easy access to an enormous amount of data.
The big step is yet to come. Lots of companies are working on analyzing that data to help you understand it and make better decisions. Humans are notoriously bad at spotting trends in large sets of data. But computers can be extraordinarily good at it. It will be a long, hard slog to get devices that can make recommendations through the FDA, but the day will soon come when you have a personal diabetes analyst in your pocket reviewing your numbers and helping you make good decisions. At the very least, your meter can tell your doctor when there's a problem so that he can proactively reach out to you.
This technology is not a cure, but it will make the wait progressively less difficult.