More positive research has emerged supporting the effectiveness of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices for people with type 1 diabetes.
A German study has shown the pioneering technology can help reduce the number of hypos (low blood sugar levels) in patients with a recent history of either hypo unawareness or severe hypo episodes.
Hypo unawareness is when people are unable to identify symptoms of low blood sugar levels, which can lead to very low blood sugar levels and increase the risk of a severe hypo. A severe hypo requires treatment from someone else and can lead to seizures or unconsciousness, and should be treated as a medical emergency.
CGM kits are less invasive compared to finger pricking and can be used in conjunction with an insulin pump. They operate 24 hours a day and include alarms that can be set to indicate when glucose levels are either too high or too low.
Researchers from the Diabetes Academy Mergentheim in Bad Mergentheim, Germany, recruited 149 people with type 1 diabetes for the trial, all of whom had a record in the last year of either hypo unawareness or an episode of severe hypo.
All participants were asked to check their blood sugar levels via finger pricking for the first 28 days and wear a CGM without being able to view the data recorded.
They were then randomly split into two groups for a six-month period. One group continued using the finger-pricking blood glucose test to monitor their diabetes and the other group used the CGM devices with full access to the data and alarms.
The findings showed the number of hypos fell from an average 10.8 episodes per 28 days to just 3.5 in the CGM group, whereas there was no change in the finger pricking group.
By the last month of the trial, 33% of the CGM group had not experienced any hypoglycemia episodes, compared with only 7.6% in the other group. The CGM group also experienced a reduction in night-time hypos.
The researchers concluded that using CGM devices “reduced the number of hypoglycemic events in individuals with type 1 diabetes treated by multiple daily insulin injections and with impaired hypoglycemia awareness or severe hypoglycemia.”
The study and an accompanying editorial have both been published in The Lancet.