Every 12th inhabitant of the Earth today is sick with diabetes, but half of the patients do not yet know about their illness. Every minute another case of diabetes is detected on Earth, and every minute, two people die from its complications (Yaron et al., 2019). All forms of diabetes are caused by an inability to utilize glucose, the body’s primary energy source, adequately. It is due to a disruption in the production or use of insulin in the body. A hormone produced in the cells of the pancreas and necessary for the conversion of sugar, starches, and other food components into energy. In people with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas may not produce enough insulin, or the body cannot use it adequately (Haak et al., 2017). As a result, blood glucose rises, causing blood vessels and other organs too. This form of diabetes occurs in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed based on high blood glucose and urinary glucose levels.
This ailment requires a comprehensive treatment approach that includes many different treatment options. In addition to seeking medical help, a person should control blood glucose levels and exercise whenever possible to reduce insulin requirements and increase body weight loss. Control cholesterol and body weight by including low-calorie foods in their diet, low in sugar, fat, and complex carbohydrates, and plant fiber is also necessary. Often, for this, various technologies are used that allow monitoring of the leading health indicators that are important for a given disease and used for other purposes: prevention, health education, and much more. This paper examines the leading technologies used by patients with diabetes and the impact of these technologies on patients’ lives, the course of the disease, and other essential factors.
Almost a century has passed since the discovery of diabetes compensation, and since then, several medical and technological discoveries have significantly improved the quality of life for people with diabetes. The technologies for daily blood glucose measurement are being improved. Diagnostics have become more progressive and accurate: disorders of insulin production can now be detected in the early, pre-diabetic stages. By adjusting their lifestyle, members of the risk group remain healthy. This fact is proved by studies carried out both during the testing of new technological devices and during their successful implementation (Yaron et al., 2019). For many decades, glucose control has been primarily done by pricking a finger, drawing a drop of blood, and analyzing it with a test strip and glucometer.
In some cases, depending on how we control diabetes, this painful and inconvenient procedure has to be performed up to 12 times a day. Parents are forced to decide every time about the need to hurt their child. Some mothers cannot work; they must monitor their child’s glucose levels, including when they are at school. However, finger punctures for glucose analysis are not the most modern monitoring method and hardly correspond to the normal rhythm of life. For example, Abbott’s advances in diabetes management are helping patients get rid of this unpleasant procedure (Haak et al., 2017). At the same time, they allow monitoring of diabetes around the clock and form the most accurate picture of glucose levels, which, in turn, contributes to more correct recommendations of doctors on the treatment process.
These developments allow instantly obtaining glucose levels without constantly drawing blood from a finger. Every day, this development is getting better, more ergonomic, and practically does not affect a patient’s life with diabetes, as evidenced by research (Yaron et al., 2019). As a rule, these studies are controlled and randomized, which partly balances their lack of sufficiently small samples (Haak et al., 2017; Yaron et al., 2019). It is not for nothing that a revolution has taken place in medical technologies, and today they make it possible to radically influence the prolongation of the life of patients and improve its quality. The accuracy and speed of diagnosis in this process are of great importance: up to 70% of clinical decisions are based on data from diagnostic studies (Haak et al., 2017). In this regard, such developments are essential not only for the patients themselves, their families, and the general population. Doctors can also diagnose a vital health indicator, which becomes a significant advantage of nursing practice, in an easier way.
Further, directly diagnostics, or technology, which is implemented in the processes of treatment and prevention, there are technologies for processing the data obtained. One of the most significant technological trends in medicine and diagnostics, in particular, has become personalization. With the ability to collect a vast amount of data for each patient, physicians can make informed therapeutic decisions. The sensor of the FreeStyle Libre continuous blood sugar monitoring system measures glucose levels almost 1,500 times a day; based on this information, the system processes personal reports that are available to both the patient and the doctor (Yaron et al., 2019). The difference in the amount of data between the traditional method and the Flash monitoring system is enormous (Yaron et al., 2019). With new technologies for disease control, people with diabetes gain a whole new level of freedom from routine measurements, therapy becomes as personalized and effective as possible, and a person lives life to the fullest.
The system is based on minimally invasive sensor technology, which is invisible under clothing, waterproof, and designed for 14 days of operation; then, it is replaced. A compact scanner reads the readings; it is enough to bring it to the sensor. Clinical studies have shown that the accuracy of intercellular fluid glucose analysis is comparable to that of a blood test (Yaron et al., 2019; Haak et al., 2017). Glycemic readings in the intercellular fluid lag behind blood values only with a sharp change in glucose levels, and this difference averages about five minutes. At the same time, Flash monitoring allows for increasing the measurement frequency. Some studies have shown a relationship between diabetes control – measurement frequency – with the frequency of pathological conditions.
This disease can be prevented and controlled, including without direct monitoring of important health indicators. For example, general-purpose mobile applications are often considered promising developments, which help monitor the dynamics of the disease and remind of the necessary actions (Muralidharan et al., 2017). Even a simple medication reminder function improves long-range patient health outcomes (Muralidharan et al., 2017). In addition, such applications open access to various information, which saves time for consultations with specialists, while visits to doctors have become more frequent after participating in the testing of these applications (Muralidharan et al., 2017). Monitoring health indicators allows for maintaining particular databases within these applications, which make up dynamic graphical statistics that reflect not only blood sugar but also blood pressure (Bonn et al., 2018). Such developments seem to be extremely promising in the diagnosis of the disease.
The most promising developments include expert systems that provide specific quality advice to patients. However, even now, most studies on the impact of mobile apps remain at the level of confirmation of patient motivation but not reliably confirmed effective results (McMillan et al., 2017). If diagnostic technologies such as blood glucose meters and pedometers work as databases for expert systems in smartphones that are always at hand, the results are likely to be more tangible.
These developments contribute to the coordination of care and the optimization of resources by reducing the burden on doctors. Most medical institutions experience a shortage of staff, and therefore all assistance from the patient without directly interfering with the diagnostic process itself is critical (Bonn et al., 2018). Currently, the listed technologies do not require significant expenses or are entirely free of charge; however, in the future, such devices for controlling sugar should be issued ongoing to all patients.
Standards and policies, both at the WHO level and at more local levels in the US, include mandatory monitoring and screening for possible symptoms of type 2 diabetes, which requires a visit to the facility. Remote monitoring removes the patients’ need to be too often monitored in-house and still has a duty to screen for retinopathies and kidney disease, while sugar and cholesterol affecting the heart will be monitored remotely (Yaron et al., 2019). Mobile applications do not require logistics and delivery issues, while support teams for using the sugar-changing machine and the application will be crucial in resolving the problem. Perhaps the use of technology in this aspect will give an impetus to the further development of telemedicine.
Home care and dialysis are, in fact, the main treatments for solving this problem due to the availability of information remotely, in connection with which the availability of transport for travel becomes less critical. However, face-to-face appointments are still needed to track symptoms, so transportation will continue to be necessary and generally not problematic. Support groups are needed primarily to understand and discuss the implementation of the discussed technical innovations. Religious institutions in this situation can only help to improve the motivational component, with which there are no problems anyway.
As part of this study, a meeting was held with a family where one of the members has type 2 diabetes. Almost constantly, the patient is forced to see a doctor due to the possibility of developing symptoms of the disease. However, as a rule, the patient left control over his health ultimately to medical workers: as a result, his condition often worsened. As part of a two-hour practice, the patient was offered the help of technologies: first, the use of a specialized mobile application. Then, after use, with the help of a questionnaire, the possibility of purchasing a device for controlling blood sugar was considered. The application attracted the patient with its ergonomics and unobtrusiveness. As a result, he increased his interest in his health. Despite the lack of desire to integrate monitoring into his daily routine, the patient agreed to purchase this device because there was no need to harm himself and record the results. This case proved a positive dynamics of motivation concerning one’s health; however, in itself, in the short term, it did not give effective results, as the studies above showed (McMillan et al., 2017). Consequently, technology improves the management of illness, while the healing process still depends on the doctor’s competence, the availability of medicines, and the discipline of the patie
Bonn, S. E., Alexandrou, C., Steiner, K. H., Wiklander, K., Östenson, C. G., Löf, M., & Lagerros, Y. T. (2018). App-technology to increase physical activity among patients with diabetes type 2-the DiaCert-study, a randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 1-7. Web.
Haak, T., Hanaire, H., Ajjan, R., Hermanns, N., Riveline, J. P., & Rayman, G. (2017). Flash glucose-sensing technology as a replacement for blood glucose monitoring for the management of insulin-treated type 2 diabetes: A multicenter, open-label randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Therapy, 8(1), 55-73. Web.
McMillan, K. A., Kirk, A., Hewitt, A., & MacRury, S. (2017). A systematic and integrated review of mobile-based technology to promote active lifestyles in people with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, 11(2), 299-307. Web.
Muralidharan, S., Ranjani, H., Anjana, R. M., Allender, S., & Mohan, V. (2017). Mobile health technology in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 21(2), 334. Web.
Yaron, M., Roitman, E., Aharon-Hananel, G., Landau, Z., Ganz, T., Yanuv, I.,… & Raz, I. (2019). Effect of flash glucose monitoring technology on glycemic control and treatment satisfaction in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 42(7), 1178-1184. Web.