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DexCom Inc's new blood glucose monitor may make checking blood sugar levels less of a chore for patients with type 1 diabetes. Also, individuals using a DexCom glucose monitor have dramatically fewer episodes of high (hyperglycemia) or extremely low (hypoglycemia) blood glucose levels, physicians reported in Diabetes Care (March 2004).
For the study, 15 patients with type 1 diabetes had a Dex- Com glucose sensor implanted under the skin of the abdomen. The sensor is about the size of a AA battery and transmits radio signals to a pager-sized receiver. The device works by determining blood glucose levels every 30 seconds and transmitting data to the receiver every 5 minutes. Vibratory and auditory alarms sound when glucose levels are too high or too low.
During phase 1 of the study, lasting 50 days, blood glucose levels were stored in the receiver but were not made available to physicians or patients. During phase 2, lasting 44 days, the receiver displays were turned on. The 15 participants were asked to monitor their blood glucose levels with a typical self-monitoring device at least 2 times daily and whenever the alarm sounded.
The researchers found that, in phase 2, patients spent an average of 47% less time daily in the hypoglycemic range and 25% less time in the hyperglycemic range, compared with how they did in phase 1 of the study.