Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

New Algorithm Could Help Prevent Overnight Blood Sugar Lows | March 12, 2010

Some welcome relief to worried parents of Type 1 diabetes sufferers… A recent article published by the New York Times reports a potential new glucose-monitoring tool designed to check children’s blood sugar levels at night.

A new study claims that a computer algorithm is better at preventing overnight hypoglycemic events by recommending frequent adjustments to insulin doses. The study is significant because it shows that a computer algorithm can be effective at helping to interpret the amount of insulin needed.

People with Type 1 diabetes live a constant balancing act, trying to prevent the level of sugar in their blood from running too high or too low. When blood sugar levels drop too low, a condition known as hypoglycemia, the patient can suffer from shakiness, seizures and even death in extreme cases. Kids are particularly at risk for overnight lows because their blood sugar can fluctuate rapidly.

Currently, researchers are trying to develop an artificial pancreas, which is essentially an insulin pump that will work in concert with a continuous glucose monitoring system to automatically control blood sugar levels. Currently both technologies are available but do not work in concert with one another.

While the study does provide some encouragement for parents, it also has its limits. For example, since the two technologies do not yet work together, if blood sugar drops too low, an alarm may sound but the pump will still continue to deliver insulin, causing the blood sugar to continue to fall. If the patient doesn’t hear the alarm or if their sugar is too low and they are unable to respond, they may face a very serious situation.

via: New Algorithm Could Help Prevent Overnight Blood Sugar Lows

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