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Continuous glucose monitoring lowers blood sugar.

Continuous glucose monitoring lowers blood sugar. Significantly decreased blood sugar levels over time--and increased well-being. These are two key results of a long-term study at Sweden's Sahlgrenska Academy of continuous glucose monitoring in persons with type 1 diabetes.

"This is one of few new treatments in recent decades which significantly reduces blood sugar levels for persons with type 1 diabetes, who are dependent on insulin injections," notes Marcus Lind, Associate Professor of Diabetology at the department of molecular and clinical medicine.

A total of 161 people took part in the study, each one in need of insulin injections several times per day in order to keep their blood sugar levels in check. They were randomly selected in different rounds either to use traditional equipment, and prick their finger at least four times per day in order to measure the sugar levels, or to use a device which measures the blood sugar continually via a thin filament under the skin on the stomach. A separate unit kept in the pocket would beep or vibrate when the sugar level was too high or too low.

The study lasted 16 months, and the patients used each method over a six-month period, with a four-month "washout period" without assisted treatment between each round.

"The principal question was whether there would be a difference in the average blood sugar levels. What we saw was that when patients used this continual blood sugar measurement, they had a lower blood sugar level on average--something which is considered significant in reducing the risk of complications with type 1 diabetes," Lind explains.

The blood sugar value, measured using the marker HbA1c, which gives a mean value over a three-month period, dropped by five millimole per mole, a leap which can be considered justification for giving wider access to the treatment.

Previous studies of the technology have been more focused on the verification, over shorter periods, of blood sugar values produced by continual measurement. The fact that the mean sugar levels have been shown to actually decrease is something that can protect the patient group.

The study also shows an increase in treatment satisfaction and well-being. Those factors are important in themselves, and they also improve the chances of the treatment working in the long term.

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Title Annotation:Diabetes
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Mar 1, 2017
Words:376
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