Friday, September 13, 2013

For a diabetic, every step counts

Medtronic, the market leading insulin pump vendor, just published a blog entry in their blog, the Loop. Some text there makes me cautiously optimistic:
Since blood glucose is affected by so many things, we need to take a broader view of the technologies which are on the horizon. Never has it been easier to collect physiological data – perspiration, movement, heartrate, location. These aren’t diabetes devices per se, but they collect critical contextual data which these athletes are already using to improve their performance and glycemic outcomes. We’ve gone from a drought to a deluge of data.
There are four main factors affecting the treatment of a diabetic:
  1. Blood glucose measurements
  2. Carbohydrate intake
  3. Medication
  4. Physical activity
There are other factors as well, such as amount and quality of sleep, stress, other hormones, etc. But the four main factors listed above are the most important ones, and it is essential to understand the effects of each of those to the particular patient. They all affect each other.

So far physical activity has had a minor role in Medtronic's CareLink system, as well as in every other similar system. For many systems, a diabetic can enter any exercise explicitly. I'd do this for each game of football I play or for a session at the gym. But not necessarily when I'm just walking from a place to another. I may not realize it on that day, but on some days I end up being really active, and on other days really inactive. My step count from the pedometer app in my phone for the last week is 2891, 8903, 5814, 4994, 15 909, 8 804, and 3 265. It really makes a big difference whether I walk 16 000 or 3 000 steps per day. And it also affects my glucose levels the next day.

All that data is difficult to enter manually, but really effortlessly collected by an app on my phone. I hope pump system vendors would find a way to include data from various activity monitors into their reports, or allowing the data from their devices to be easily included in reports where all that activity data can be included.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea that you can add your other activities there also.