Smart app gives girl's family peace of mind

By Bernard Orsman

Gabrielle and Simon Hall with 2-week-old Stella, Mia, 8, and Georgia, 4, who shows off the smartphone tracking her glucose levels. Photo / Dean Purcell
Gabrielle and Simon Hall with 2-week-old Stella, Mia, 8, and Georgia, 4, who shows off the smartphone tracking her glucose levels. Photo / Dean Purcell

A new diabetes device that continuously reads glucose levels and sends the results to a smartphone is giving peace of mind to the parents of 4-year-old Georgia Hall.

Avondale couple Simon and Gabrielle Hall can receive messages of a spike or drop in Georgia's blood glucose readings from the device that skips the need for finger-prick blood tests.

The device works by a sensor implanted under the skin taking readings every five minutes and sending the results to up to five mobile phones. A minimum of two finger pricks are required daily to calibrate the sensors, which last for seven days.

Mr Hall said the new device was a step up from an earlier model. The new model provided information to an app on a smartphone and the information was accurate enough to give the right amount of insulin without a finger-prick blood test.

"You get an instant flow of information in terms of the blood-sugar levels through the day," he said.

"Georgia has just started a new daycare and it's very reassuring for us to able to track her blood glucose levels remotely so we can see how she's doing - especially while the daycare are in the learning phase of her diabetes care. Knowing that you'll receive an alarm if Georgia is too high or low gives us peace of mind to focus on other things. Not having to wake her up in the middle of the night to give her finger-prick tests is a huge advantage too."

Trish Snegirev, diabetes division manager of New Zealand Medical and Scientific, said New Zealand was one of the first countries outside the US to receive the new device, which is not funded by Pharmac and costs about $9200 a year.

She said the mobile technology would make it easier to track blood glucose levels and warn of a pending hypoglycemic event, where blood glucose drops to dangerous levels and may result in a loss of consciousness or even a debilitating seizure.

"The impact of low blood sugar can go unnoticed until it's too late, which is why continuous glucose monitoring and warning alerts are so important."

Ms Snegirev said most New Zealanders with diabetes monitored blood glucose with as many as 15 finger-prick blood tests each day. For some people the device would save about 3000 finger pricks a year.

The number of New Zealanders living with diabetes has doubled from 125,000 to 250,000 in the past 10 years.

How the device works

• Sensor and transmitter implanted under the skin

• Real time glucose readings sent to smartphone

• Up to five people can receive readings

• Warnings issued if glucose levels spike or drop too low

• Minimum of two finger pricks per day required for calibration

• Sensors last for seven days

- NZ Herald

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