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Feature Article

Managing type 1 diabetes: new technology and its application

D. Jane Holmes-Walker

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Abstract

Insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring, smart glucose meters and phone apps are rapidly changing the way people with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels. General practitioners need to keep up with these innovations to feel comfortable managing people with type 1 diabetes both now and into the future.

Key Points

  • An understanding of how new devices for managing type 1 diabetes work and familiarity with the terminology used will help GPs support patients presenting with the common problems of hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia.
  • Insulin pumps use only rapid-acting insulin and achieve the effect of long-acting insulin through constant delivery of rapid-acting insulin at varying rates across a 24-hour period.
  • The common complication of insulin pump therapy of an occluded insulin delivery infusion set can be quickly corrected out of hospital if recognised and appropriately managed before diabetic ketoacidosis develops.
  • Continuous glucose monitoring is now available for people using multiple daily injection insulin regimens as well as those using insulin pump therapy. It will be used increasingly by young people with type 1 diabetes because of new funding for those aged under 21 years.
  • Smart glucose meters and phone apps can be used to calculate bolus insulin doses in people on multiple daily injection insulin regimens similarly to as in those using insulin pumps.

    Picture credit: © BSIP/Belmonte/Diomedia.com
    Model used for illustrative purposes only

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