Although I am not a diabetic, I was once a medical student. Medical students tend to practice on each other (which is a good thing, versus practicing on patients!). Having my finger pricked to check my blood glucose is one of the things I hated the most. It was not very painful, but there was the anticipation of waiting for the automated lance to go off. It always made me jumped every single time. Imagine diabetics who must monitor their blood glucose regularly!
Fortunately, as technology progresses, individuals in the healthcare field are constantly trying to help reduce or eliminate factors that mess with compliance in patients. By making the process less painful, patient compliance would increase. This is especially valuable for children with type 1 diabetes as they would not have to experience pain. Moreover, it would be a tremendous relief for parents since there would be less tantrums when it comes to blood glucose monitoring.
A non-invasive device used to detect and monitor blood glucose levels is being developed. It is a hand-held breathalyzer that detects acetone (linked to high blood glucose) in the breath. Studies have found as many as 67% patients do not comply to blood glucose monitoring as it is invasive and somewhat painful. This can result in serious diabetes complications. By not knowing their blood glucose levels, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can cause seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death. In the case of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), it can lead to increased risk of infections, heart disease, and nerve and kidney damage.
This is a tremendous improvement in quality of life since diabetics must monitor their blood glucose levels several times a day for the rest of their life. This new device is currently the size of a small book. Patients simply blow into it to check their blood glucose levels. Studies on this device have shown clear correlations between blood glucose levels and acetone levels in the breath. There is, however, a slight margin of error for smokers as their breath contains higher levels of acetone due to the combustion of tobacco.
The company that is producing this device is aiming for patients to be able to start using it by the end of 2017. They are also trying to develop it in smaller sizes, so it is portable and easily carried around. Look forward to it!
Noninvasive blood glucose monitoring device for people with diabetes in development. Medical News Today. 2016. URL Link. Accessed 2/4/2017.