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Health Team

New device making life easier for Type I diabetics

Posted April 13, 2009 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2009 11:20 a.m. EDT

Diabetes

Type I diabetics can't properly break down sugars in their blood, so they have to monitor blood sugar levels almost 24 hours a day. However, a new device is making it easier to manage the disease.

Analeigh Hughes, 11, wears a small sensor on her skin connected to the medical device. It alerts her when blood sugar or glucose levels are too high or low.

“If it gets really, really, really high sometimes I feel nauseous and sometimes I get sick,” she said.

A finger prick test gives her an exact number. Before the medical device, Analeigh relied only on finger prick tests – 10 times a day and twice at night.

“I’d set my alarm, and I would get up and go in and check her,” said Michelle Hughes, Analeigh’s mother.

Now, her mother only has to get up when the device goes off.

If blood sugar levels are not kept in check, they can damage the kidneys and cardiovascular system over time. The monitors help patients maintain consistent levels.

“It’s kind of an early warning system. Controlling the blood sugar properly is the best defense to preventing diabetes complications,” said Dr. Robin Goland with New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Not all insurance companies cover the devices, which can cost several thousand dollars. However, Michelle Hughes said it’s worth it.

“(Analeigh) has a lot more independence. I feel so much more comfortable sending her to a friend’s house (or) to the movies without me being there,” she said.