The NHS is currently testing a new continuous glucose monitor (CGM) on patients in three different areas of the UK.
The device, which can remain on the body for up to five months before being replaced, is being trialled in London, Cambridge and Swansea for safety and accuracy.
The CGM was built by US manufacturer Senseonics. It is placed under the skin on the arm, and calculates blood sugar levels constantly by shining a fluorescent light on blood vessels. Blood glucose readings are then sent to a connected smartphone.
Unlike blood glucose testing, which is done manually, continuous glucose monitors provide automatic, frequent blood glucose readings. The result is usually improved glucose control; the constant updates allow users to respond to even the smallest changes in blood glucose levels, enabling a more meticulous diabetes management routine.
“Living with type 1 diabetes is a bit like being a blind tightrope-walker,” Dr. Pratik Choudhary, consultant at King’s College Hospital and a lecturer at King’s College London told BBC News.
“You’re on this tightrope between high and low blood glucose levels and you’re only allowed to open your blindfold four of five times a day.
“Continuous glucose monitoring allows you to open your eyes and see where you’re going.”
This device has the potential to be a significant upgrade on currently available CGM implants, which have to be replaced after a week.
“Knowing what your blood sugar is all the time means you can get better control,” said Dr. Choudhary.
“All the sensors on the market at the moment last a week and you have to take it out and change it. This sensor lasts three to five months.”

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