According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 422 million people in the world suffer from diabetes. It is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by high levels of blood sugar, which can lead over time to serious damage of the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. The most common is type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin. In the past three decades, the prevalence of this type of diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels.
New drugs and breakthroughs in dosing and delivery systems have quite literally revolutionized the treatment of diabetes over the last few years. The 2008 Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines emphasize the need to use a wide range of medications, health care providers, and patient motivation strategies to keep blood glucose under control.
One of these breakthroughs is wearable glucose sensors. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is a tiny sensor inserted under your skin, usually on your stomach or arm. The sensor measures your interstitial blood sugar levels, which is the glucose found in the fluid between the cells. The sensor tests glucose every few minutes. A transmitter wirelessly sends the information to a monitor, which can be a mobile phone. Much handier and user friendly than pricking your finger and using a paper stick which was the way people routinely monitored their diabetes until recently.
An alarm can sound when your glucose level goes too low or too high. You can note your meals, physical activity, and medicines in a CGM device, too, alongside your glucose levels. You can download data to a computer or smart device to more easily see your glucose trends. Parents can monitor children with a mobile phone.
The first edition of IEC 60747-14-10 “specifies the terms, definitions, symbols, tests, and performance evaluation methods used to determine the performance characteristics of wearable electrochemical-glucose sensors for practical use.” The international standard is published by IEC TC 47 which prepares documents relevant to sensor technology. It is expected to be published in November.