Technology advances our lives in many ways, and managing diabetes is no exception. Take this quiz to see how much you know about new and improved technologies that make managing your diabetes easier.
1. Which of the following new blood sugar monitoring technologies is now available in the United States?
A. A breathalyzer test
B. An implantable blood sugar monitor
C. A tattoo
D. A piercing
2. What are some ways your smartphone can help you manage your blood sugar? More than one answer may apply.
A. Apps that allow you to record your food
B. Apps to help you plan meals
C. Apps that find diabetes-friendly restaurants
D. Apps that send results to your doctor
3. How is blood sugar measured without pricking your finger?
A. Finger pricks are still required, but they are more sensitive to less blood and therefore are not as painful.
B. Carbon dioxide exhalation
C. Continuous glucose monitoring
D. Saliva testing
4. In addition to your computer and smartphone, what other electronic and/or technological devices are being used to help manage diabetes? More than one answer may be correct.
A. Bluetooth®-capable technology
D. Videogame devices
5. True or false: All diabetes-related apps and devices are covered by insurance.
1. B. Among the options listed above, only implantable devices that allow for continuous glucose monitoring are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. In 2017, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University announced they had developed a tattoo that detects glucose changes known as Dermal Abyss. However, the device was developed for research purposes only.
2. A,B,C,D. Apps like Glucose Buddy help users track what they eat. In addition to meal-planning, Diabetes:M tracks lab results, schedules meals, and sets reminders to check your blood sugar. Numerous apps can help people with diabetes and other conditions make smart choices when dining out. Diabetes Connect tracks meals as well as medication administration and blood sugar levels. You can also share these data with your doctor. These are just a few of many apps, so you might want to shop around before deciding. Also, some apps are free, while others require a subscription or charge a fee for premium features.
3. C. Right now, continuous glucose monitoring devices such as the Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitoring System and FreeStyle Libre Flash® Glucose Monitoring System are the only FDA-approved medical devices that monitor blood sugar without fingersticks. However, the Dexcom G6 applicator uses a needle to insert the sensor in the area best suited for your body type, and the FreeStyle Libre Flash® Glucose Monitoring system requires a small sensor wire placed beneath the skin’s surface. Researchers are continuing to develop new methods to monitor blood sugar. Some of these devices have already been approved in other countries, with some manufacturers eyeing the U.S. market, so they may make their way here soon.
4. A,B,C,D. Both mySugr Logbook/Roche Accu-Chek Connect Integration and One Drop Premium employ Bluetooth® technology to perform functions including data transmission to other devices to help track readings. You can access various apps such as Diabetes Pilot on your iPad and MyDario on your tablet or other mobile devices. Several smartwatches have features that help you monitor your blood sugar. For example, Dexcom G6 has a mobile app that is compatible with Android phones and watches. Video games that require players to engage in physical activity can improve physical health as well as blood sugar. According to an article published in the British Medical Journal in 2013, playing Nintendo’s Wii Fit Plus for 12 weeks reduced A1C levels, fasting blood glucose levels, and body-mass index in people who had Type 2 diabetes. They also lost weight.
5. False. For example, insulin pumps are classified as “durable medical equipment,” and many private insurance companies often cover at least a portion of the costs. If your doctor determines you might benefit from using such a device, he or she will have to submit paperwork to the insurance company. In these cases, it’s often helpful to work with medical professionals who specialize in diabetes, such as certified diabetes educators or endocrinologists. Also, newer devices are less likely to be covered by insurance, but this could very well change the longer they remain on the market.
Contact your insurance company to find out which devices your plan covers or the device manufacturers for information on how to navigate the insurance process. There are thousands of health apps, but most of them are not FDA-approved, so, as you have probably already guessed, insurance does not cover many diabetes apps. However, some insurance companies partner with certain companies that have apps, so it wouldn’t hurt to check to see what your insurance company covers before purchasing any apps.