Published on June 12, 2021
A few days ago, we shared an article from our website https://insheal.in over LinkedIn on the pulse oximeter, a small device that non-invasively measures the oxygen saturation of the blood https://insheal.in/oximeter. We received an interesting question from one of our diabetic friends, “Is something like this available to measure blood glucose? A device that will save me from the stress of repeated finger pricks?”
Well, the good news is, such non-invasive devices are available in some countries and several others are in various stages of development. Based on technologies such as optical, microwave, ultrasound, thermal and electromagnetic sensing, and using artificial intelligence, these devices gather information through sensors applied to the skin on the fingertip, like the pulse oximeter, or the ear lobe and estimate the blood glucose without direct contact with the blood. They provide immediate results, usually within in a minute.
The non-invasive devices are used to measure the blood glucose levels on an as-and-when needed basis, as often as desired. They measure the blood glucose intermittently, in contrast to the continuous glucose monitors that measure the glucose levels continuously through a sensor attached to the skin with an adhesive.
While the non-invasive devices give diabetes patients a reason to smile, they are not yet a replacement for the traditional glucometers. They are approved to monitor and understand the trends in the blood glucose levels in adult patients with type 2 diabetes. However, they cannot be used to adjust the dose of the diabetes medicines, for which a finger-prick reading or a blood test at a laboratory is necessary. They cannot be used in children, in whom they could be most useful. Some non-invasive glucometers require calibration to give personalized results; the calibration must be done with test strips using blood samples.
To conclude, the non-invasive intermittent glucose monitoring devices are used currently to monitor the blood glucose levels comfortably and on a regular basis, thereby reducing the number of times that the finger prick test is needed. Devices that have both, a non-invasive component and an invasive component could eliminate the need to purchase an additional glucometer. Technological advances in the future will undoubtedly result in devices with similar accuracy to a traditional glucose monitor, and hopefully eliminate the need for the finger-prick test in both children and in adults.
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