Diabetes has become a widespread concern all across the globe. Advancements in glucose monitoring have thus become imperative to minimize long-term micro- and macrovascular complications. Improvements in glucose monitoring devices such as in a continuous glucose monitoring device also help to reduce short-term complications like diabetic ketoacidosis and severe hypoglycemia.
The regular and frequent blood glucose monitoring feature of these devices is an essential part of diabetes management. That being said, most of the currently available blood glucose monitoring devices are invasive. This can be understood as a key reason which reduces patient compliance and creates a negative reflection on glucose control.
Therefore, there has been an emergent need for introducing less invasive procedures, which would eventually boost patient compliance. Altogether, these procedures can significantly improve the quality of life and health of patients with diabetes.
What is continuous glucose monitoring?
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a method that helps in tracking glucose levels all through the day and night. A continuous glucose monitoring device takes measurements at regular intervals during the 24 hours of a day. These measurements are then translated into dynamic data, generating the direction of glucose as well as the rate of change.
A continuous glucose monitoring device provides real-time, dynamic glucose data every five minutes, which makes up nearly 288 readings every day. These features are not available in a blood glucose meter, which provides only a single reading. The patient can also obtain insights about the glucose levels which also provides an additional insight that helps to proactively manage diabetes.
How does CGM work?
The continuous glucose monitoring device has a tiny sensor wire which can be inserted just under the skin with the help of an automatic application. The adhesive patch in the device holds the sensor housing in a place so that the sensor can measure glucose readings in interstitial fluid throughout the day.
A small and reusable transmitter then connects to the sensor wire and transmits real-time readings wirelessly to the receiver. With some systems, a compatible smart device that contains the CGM system app can work as the display device. The receiver or compatible smart device shows the current glucose levels and previous trends in the levels. The CGM receiver and/or compatible smart device can be set to send custom alerts to the user whenever the glucose thresholds are reached.
Components of a continuous glucose monitoring device:
Continuous glucose monitoring ( CGM) sensors are portable devices that measure and visualize glucose concentrations in real-time almost continuously for several days and provide hypo/hyperglycemic alerts and glucose trend information. CGM sensors have revolutionized type 1 diabetes management (T1D) and improved glucose control when used in conjunction with self-monitoring blood glucose systems.
In addition, the continuous glucose monitoring device has stimulated the development of applications that could not be created without a continuous glucose signal, e.g., real-time predictive hypo/hyperglycemic episode alerts based on the prediction of future glucose concentrations, automatic basal insulin attenuation methods for the prevention of hypoglycemia, and artificial pancreas.
The task of the receiver is to receive and display information from the sensor. It has a screen where the patient can check the current glucose levels and see past readings. The receiver will also give warnings if the glucose level goes too high or too low, including status updates, and show trend information to help the patient understand how much the glucose level is going up or down over time.
Some modern CGMs are Bluetooth-enabled so that they can send readings directly to your smart devices, such as your cell phone or laptop. Apps that work with CGMs have additional special features, including graphics, trends, and the ability to share glucose data with family or caregivers.
A CGM works through means of a small sensor inserted under your skin, usually on your belly or arm. The sensor tests the amount of interstitial glucose that is present in the fluid between the cells. Every few minutes, the sensor measures glucose. The transmitter sends the information wirelessly to the monitor. A small CGM sensor under the skin monitors glucose. The transmitter shall give the data to the receiver. The CGM receiver can be part of an insulin pump or a separate unit.
A transmitter works with the receiver to obtain sensor readings and shows the findings on the monitor of the system. The transmitter collects signals from a battery-powered, portable receiver that shows the results. The reader also shows different diagrams and figures that can be used to tailor the drug, which is useful for patients with hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic conditions.
Here’s how continuous glucose monitoring devices have become an essential technology
A CGM device is better than self-monitoring devices
The CGM displays a glucose trend graph and direction arrows that enable people with diabetes to predict rising glucose levels and lows, thus alerting the user at distracted periods such as playing, sleeping, or exercising. The demand for CGM products is projected to gain significant momentum due to collaborations between endocrinologists, credentialed diabetes educators, and diabetes prevention stakeholder organizations.
The rise in the incidence of diabetes
Diabetes is a metabolic condition that occurs either when not enough insulin is released by the pancreas, or when the body can not use the insulin it provides efficiently. An estimated 422 million adults worldwide live with diabetes, where the drastic rise in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in 2016 was largely due to obesity, according to the World Health Organization.
CGM plays a critical role in diabetes treatment, as it provides early warning that can prevent diabetes-related complications such as cardiac disease, stroke, renal failure, leg amputation, vision loss, and nerve damage. According to the 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an unprecedented 23.1 million individuals or 7.2 percent of the U.S. population were diagnosed with diabetes, including 132,000 children and adolescents under the age of 18.
The continuous glucose monitoring device market is a crucial industry as frequent glucose monitoring is an essential component of diabetes management. The reason being, it is the only way that blood glucose can be kept within the euglycaemic range. Blood glucose meters have now entered an advanced stage in terms of accuracy, cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and software-based data collection and management.
In addition, several organizations have now begun to concentrate on improving the interface, mobile device compatibility, and telemedicine. Nevertheless, SMBG is still too invasive, time-consuming, and cumbersome to be universally carried out with sufficient frequency and at the same time compatible with the day-to-day activities of children and adults alike. Poor adherence to glucose monitoring determines an increased risk of complications with diabetes.
Continuous and non-invasive developments are also required. The future of CGM relies not only on advances in hardware technology (lifetime, non-invasiveness, reliability, user interface, time lag, interruption elimination, precision, enhanced performance, cost-effectiveness, comfort, patient safety) but also on the algorithmic processing of data streams. This will eventually result in increased precision, biocompatibility, and wearability, resulting in better product security, safety, and quality of life.