The early warning signs of low blood sugar
As we age, our ability to monitor our glucose levels and the sugar content of our foods can be compromised. Changing the way we manage our blood sugar could mean fewer low blood sugar episodes and no need for medication.
The glucose graph
When blood sugar is low, and the glucose is high, our nerves begin to shut down.
This can cause seizures, heart palpitations, and fatigue.
New research suggests that some of the early warning signs of low blood sugar are found on the blood sugar monitor. This is important because patients may need to make changes in their daily routines.
Researchers have determined that the target glucose levels and the percentage of the glucose collected by the blood stream are constantly on display in the monitors.
This raises the possibility that having the monitor on throughout the day and night may be a way to control the sugar in our body more effectively.
Kathryn K. Bull, of the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and colleagues set out to see whether the sensor technology developed by Abbott Laboratories could predict blood sugar at any point during the day.
The findings, which have just been published in the journal Circulation, show that the glucose levels looked at in monitors were accurate at all times.
The study collected glucose readings throughout the day from 47 healthy adults in the United States.
All the participants were between 21 and 51 years old, with an average age of 30. During the study, subjects used the monitors to monitor their blood sugar levels twice a day, during the morning and at night.
Additionally, all participants ate the same high-protein diet and took the same high-protein drink four times a day. Their daily exercise and sleep habits were not affected.
The results of the study showed that the monitors provided accurate glucose levels at the same time and during the same day, regardless of how different participants' lifestyles and lifestyles were.
To confirm the accuracy of the data, the researchers used a mathematical model that modeled the daily blood sugar levels and based the model on foods and beverages consumed in the study.
How does the glucose monitor work?
The glucose monitors monitor the blood sugar level of the individual participant using sensors. These sensors capture high-resolution images of glucose molecules, then analyze them by analyzing the appearance of the proteins, metabolites, and membrane attachments in the glucose.
In the mathematical model, the team looks at a group of common chemicals and entities — these are called biomarkers — to predict the blood sugar level of the individual in question.
"Our study adds to the growing evidence that glucose monitors can predict glucose blood sugar levels at any time during the day," says first study author Brent D. Ward.
"Now, they can predict the glucose level at any point throughout the day based on simple real-time data, which may prove useful for patients with diabetes," he explains.
The researchers also explored how the monitors could be used to predict when a person is at risk of having a low blood sugar episode. The investigators found that having the monitors on all day, all night, and twice daily could be a way to check for glucose levels and monitor trends.
In the future, the researchers hope that "people with diabetes will be able to use blood glucose monitors throughout the day and night, whether sitting at a desk or doing activities that require physical activity."
"[T]his will allow people with diabetes to take action faster and more effectively to avoid low blood sugar episodes and prevent complications of diabetes." Kathryn K. Bull
"This could be the tip of the iceberg," adds lead study author Michael Reddy. "Even before the next generation of tests allows for continuous glucose monitoring of individuals throughout the day and night, this study may have important implications for healthcare systems as a whole."
"This study shows that glucose monitoring that’s available at any time, regardless of whether it’s used to diagnose or monitor a potential diabetes diagnosis, can potentially be a tool for managing glucose levels during any part of the day or night." Michael Reddy
Moreover, he adds, "This type of monitoring can potentially work well in the hospital, too, where glucose monitoring and inpatient glucose surveillance for patients undergoing daily glucose monitoring could help advance care and patient outcomes."