Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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New Tools 2008

by Diane Fennell

Availability: The Appraise Home A1c Kit is available online as well as at various retail locations nationwide, including Rite Aid. It is also available at Wal-Mart, where it is sold as the ReliOn A1c Test.

Continuous glucose monitors

 FreeStyle Navigator CGMS transmitter

 FreeStyle Navigator CGMS

Product: FreeStyle Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitoring System

Manufacturer: Abbott Laboratories
(888) 522-5226

What it does: The most recent addition to the universe of continuous glucose monitors, the FreeStyle Navigator is designed to provide real-time glucose levels from the interstitial fluid (fluid between the cells) just under the skin every minute for up to five days at a time.

The system is comprised of a sensor, a transmitter, and a receiver, the last of which comes equipped with a built-in FreeStyle blood glucose meter. The sensor is inserted into the skin of the abdomen or the back of the upper arm with an introducer needle and is then attached to the transmitter, which adheres to the skin. To ensure accurate results, the system must be calibrated with a blood glucose reading from the meter once after a 10-hour start-up period and again at least three more times over the five-day period.

The receiver’s monitor incorporates TRU Directional Arrow indicators, or arrow graphics, that show the direction and rate at which the interstitial fluid glucose level is changing. If glucose levels are changing too quickly to achieve an accurate reading, the FreeStyle Navigator will prevent the user from calibrating the system with a blood glucose reading. In addition, customizable alarms can be set to alert the user when glucose levels are approaching a too-high or too-low level.

The transmitter should be kept within 10 feet of the receiver as much of the time as possible to ensure that information is received. The transmitter is water resistant when submerged in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. (The receiver should not be submerged in water.) The system is approved for use in people age 18 and older.

Availability: The FreeStyle Navigator is currently available by prescription. For more information on how to obtain a system, visit www.FreeStyleNavigator.com and click on “Purchase.”

Product: Open Choice

Manufacturer: DexCom, Inc.
(877) DEXCOM4 (339-2664)

What it does: The Open Choice is a continuous glucose monitoring system with three separate elements that work together to provide real-time glucose measurements every five minutes for up to seven days. The key difference between this DexCom system and its predecessor, the Seven System, is that the Open Choice can be calibrated using any blood glucose meter, rather than just the OneTouch Ultra.

The Open Choice uses a sensor inserted under the skin of the abdomen to monitor the glucose level in the interstitial fluid, the fluid between the body’s cells. A transmitter that snaps into a Sensor Pod at the sensor insertion site wirelessly sends information from the sensor to the receiver, which can show the current glucose level as well as glucose trends for 1-hour, 3-hour, and 9-hour periods. An alarm sounds if the user’s glucose level falls below 55 mg/dl; optional alarms can also be set to warn the user when his glucose level has fallen or risen outside a customized range.

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