The Food and Drug Administration has granted approval for a new artificial pancreas that is hailed as a breakthrough for patients with Type I diabetes. Manufactured by Medtronic Plc, the MiniMed 670G1 combines an insulin pump with an insulin sensor. The sensor sends blood sugar data to the pump every five minutes. Then, the pump releases the correct amount of insulin. This technology saves finger-pricks and frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels.
Monitoring blood sugar levels is crucial for diabetic patients. Type I diabetes is also called Juvenile Diabetes because doctors usually detect the disease in childhood. The pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone necessary for obtaining energy from food. Type II diabetes is believed to result from excess weight and inactivity. While the FDA approved this device only Type I patients so far, it may be available to Type II patients in the future.
Almost 33% of American Type I diabetic patients use an insulin pump. They check their blood sugar level, then enter the result into the insulin pump. The patient wears the pump on the outside of the body. Tubes lead from the pump to a catheter that leads into the body. However, this system requires that the patient or caregivers use finger pricks to check blood sugar, then program the unit.
The MiniMed 670G includes disposable sensors for monitoring blood sugar levels. The sensor is the size of a coin and has a needle. The patient or caregiver inserts the needle under the skin, and tapes the sensor to the surface of the skin. Data is sent directly from the sensor to an insulin pump.
The system requires the patient inform the system when exercising and eating. These activities alter the calculations. The next plans are to build a unit that does not need these interventions.
This device will improve quality-of-life for patients, and help ensure steady blood sugar levels. Diabetic Retinopathy is a real danger for these patients. Managing diabetes properly extends life and reduce damage to the body, including the eyes.
Note: At Natural Eye Care, we offer information about balancing blood sugar to protect the retina.
Up Next: Learn more about Diabetic Retinopathy nutrition, vitamins diet & lifestyle.
- “FDA approves Medtronic’s ‘artificial pancreas’ for diabetes,” by Ransdell Pierson and Toni Clarke. Reuters Health News. 9/28/16 ↩