A Mediclinic expert shares the latest healthcare innovations for diabetics, from new insulins to the use of an insulin pump.
3 October 2021| Last updated on 1 November 2021
Wondering what new healthcare innovations are available for diabetes patients?
For the past decades, we have been witnessing a rise in diabetes incidence in parallel to the shift from an active to a sedentary, screen-based lifestyle.
More so, research in the diabetes field is booming to make diabetics’ lives easier but also to improve glycemic outcomes. Ongoing trials have been taking place also as an attempt to find a cure for diabetes.
The future of diabetes looks bright! And the care provided nowadays is way more advanced than even a couple of years ago.
Dr. Nisrine Al Ghazal, Specialist Endocrinologist from Mediclinic Dubai Mall talks about the latest advancements in diabetes innovations available in Dubai.
1. Blood sugar checking.
Patients (especially type 1 diabetics) often need to check their sugar at least five times daily. These days, sensors are replacing pinpricks with fairly good accuracy.
They provide an added value of continuously tracking the sugar (as many times as needed). They also have features to detect trends in blood sugar, i.e. whether it is going up or down preventing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) but also hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
These sensors are often linked to software accessed by primary physicians or diabetes educators.
Diabetics now have access to a wide array of apps that can help with education, carbohydrate counting, setting trends for blood sugar readings etc.
In case of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), many options are available ranging from regular sugary snacks to glucagon injections and, more recently, glucagon inhalers.
4. New anti-diabetics.
Traditionally, anti-diabetics work by increasing insulin or improving insulin sensitivity.
Recently, more pathways have been uncovered to control hyperglycemia, giving physicians a wider spectrum to choose from and delaying insulin initiation. Some new anti-diabetics have been proven to protect patients from heart diseases and decrease cardiac-related mortality.
Also, other anti-diabetics have been shown to significantly reduce patients' weights.
5. Insulin pump.
Insulin pump is a technology available for patients with Type 1 and rarely for Type 2 diabetes.
An insulin pump is a small device that is worn externally and can be clipped to the belt or slipped into the pocket, or hidden under the clothes. It delivers rapid-acting insulin to mimic the body’s needs.
The pump settings are adjusted by the endocrinologist and/or diabetes educator to match each person’s lifestyle (for example less insulin during bedtime or during sports etc.).
The main advantages of the pump are less injections, more flexibility and in the long run, better control of blood sugar, as it is trying to mimic the pancreas.
6. New insulins.
Do not fear insulin! Commonly, patients with type 2 diabetes fear starting insulin.
Insulin is the most 'natural' treatment as it is secreted by our own bodies and has its advantages of adapting to each patient’s lifestyle, providing better control of blood sugar.
Newer insulins are available that are either ultra-long acting (to cover more than 24 hours) or ultra-short acting to prevent rapid increase in blood glucose post meals.
The above are a few of the latest innovative treatments in the diabetes field. With the advancement of science and research, more technologies are on the way to facilitate life with diabetes and improve control.