A new type of diabetes pump, similar in size to an MP3 player, could prevent hypoglycemic attacks. Hypoglycemia appears when our blood glucose levels go just below 4mmol/l or 72 mg/dL. It can make us ill, lightheaded, drunk or even nauseous.
The MiniMed640G device is designed to prevent low blood sugar levels before they happen and suspend the delivery of insulin. The device mimics the pancreas by using sensors to anticipate blood sugar levels.
Karen Addington, chief executive of type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, said the complex and challenging condition is on the rise in the UK. "New technologies offer people with type 1 diabetes the chance to live a fuller life with more freedom, making it easier for them to do things like eat out, sleep in on weekends, play sports and travel abroad without having to take time out to manage the condition," she said.
The device uses patented 'SmartGuard' technology to stop feeding insulin into the bloodstream before a dangerous low is predicted. It is usually 30 minutes before a patient's glucose levels drop. Then it also kicks back in to avoid a rebound high sugar level.
Alarms and vibrations can be set off by the pump to alert a person that they are heading towards their low glucose threshold. The system also includes a sensor, which continuously monitors glucose levels.