Home Blood Sugar Management US FDA warns smartphones that measure blood sugar levels: Why pricking your finger is still your best bet | Health and Wellness News

US FDA warns smartphones that measure blood sugar levels: Why pricking your finger is still your best bet | Health and Wellness News

by Ramnath Goenka
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If you’re living with diabetes, a tech giant is developing a futuristic smartwatch that claims it can replace needles and continuously measure and monitor your blood sugar levels by simply placing it on your skin. Don’t be fooled. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers against using smartwatches and smart rings as Apple and Google work to develop technology for diabetics that can measure blood sugar levels without a finger prick.

Using these techniques to measure blood sugar levels “may lead to errors in diabetes management,” the FDA warns, and inaccurate measurements can lead to incorrect doses of insulin or dangerously high blood sugar levels. It added that it could lead to the use of drugs that can rapidly lower the risk, increasing the risk. Coma, delirium, or death can result “within hours of the mistake.” The agency clarified that the devices issuing the alert are different from smartwatches, which simply display data from another blood sugar monitoring tool.

What technology claims

Dr. V. Mohan, chairman of the Diabetes Center in Chennai, said attempts to develop non-invasive blood sugar monitors are not new and have consistently failed. “A few years ago, a company called Cygnus released a device called GlucoWatch that non-invasively tracks blood sugar levels in the body. It places a tiny electrical charge on your wrist, transporting glucose to the skin’s surface and measuring it every 10 minutes. “The process is called reverse iontophoresis, and it uses an electric current to extract ions and other substances from the skin based on the force of an electric field,” he says.

However, the device was discontinued in 2007 after users complained about its accuracy and skin irritation. Several years ago, Dr. Mohan himself conducted tests using a similar device. “The values ​​were highly inconsistent and non-reproducible. These were huge mistakes and clearly didn’t work in a humid country like India where people tend to sweat profusely. “Due to the large fluctuations in blood sugar levels, the field was quiet for several years until the tech giants ventured into smart devices again,” he says.

Dangers for people with diabetes

Because the use of such unapproved devices can result in erroneous blood sugar readings, forcing diabetics to take incorrect doses of insulin or other drugs used to lower blood sugar levels. , serious consequences can occur. “For example, if your device reads high blood sugar and you take insulin, even though you actually don’t have high blood sugar. Your blood sugar may fall well below the required level, causing hypoglycemia. This can lead to mental confusion, coma, or death within hours. Similarly, even if your device says your blood sugar is low, it may not actually be. , excess carbohydrates are ingested, resulting in a spike in blood sugar levels,” explains Dr. Mohan.

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Currently available continuous glucose monitoring devices are popular, wearable, and measure glucose levels very accurately. However, these also have problems because they measure interstitial glucose rather than blood sugar levels. “This is nothing but the rate of glucose diffusion from plasma to interstitial fluid and the rate of glucose uptake by subcutaneous tissue cells. There is a time lag of about 20 to 30 minutes between the two. This time lag is Newer versions and improvements in monitors are making it shorter. In fact, there is a documented case in Toronto involving a driver with type 1 diabetes who had a CGM reading of normal blood sugar before getting into the car. But after 20 minutes, he had a hypoglycemic reaction and hit a pedestrian. That short 20-minute gap affected his judgment. That’s why he said he should be careful before making wearables mainstream. ,” says Dr. Mohan.

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