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People who find out they have Type 1 diabetes because of a blood test will have to spend the rest of their lives monitoring their glucose levels and injecting insulin. These processes typically involve frequent pin pricks of the fingers and shots of the hormone. Recently, a team of scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine conducted a study that validated the use of continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, which are thought to be more convenient for diabetes regimens.
"Our study was designed to help patients and physicians better understand the effectiveness of insulin pumps and blood sugar sensors that provide constant glucose monitoring compared to conventional approaches," said researcher Sherita Hill Golden, M.D. "We found that certain devices confer real benefits."
Continuous glucose monitors measure blood sugar about every five minutes, reducing the need for finger prick tests from eight to 10 times a day to two to four. A review of 33 previous studies found that while both continuous glucose monitoring and traditional tests controlled hypoglycemia, the former was better at preventing hyperglycemia.
Insulin pumps inject patients with the hormone around the clock. These devices are no better than traditional shots at controlling blood sugar, according to the review. However, products that combine insulin pumps with continuous glucose monitors help patients achieve better blood sugar control compared to conventional methods.
Individuals who discover they are diabetic through a blood test may want to talk to their doctors about whether these technologies are appropriate for them.
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