When mixed martial arts competitor Dessi Zaharieva was a child, her mother would wake her up in the middle of the night to check her blood sugar level.

Like the parents of many children with diabetes, she feared her child would suffer hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) while asleep.

Twenty years later, parents can monitor and manage their children’s blood sugar levels through a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device and a wirelessly connected insulin pump, which stops insulin delivery when levels drop too low.

“These are types of technologies that can give us all a bit more freedom while we try to improve our diabetes control,” says Zaharieva.

One of the latest innovations, introduced earlier this year by Ascensia Diabetes Care, is the CONTOUR® NEXT ONE. This monitoring device connects wirelessly to a pump and to smart mobile devices.

Using the CONTOUR® Diabetes App, individuals with diabetes can review results and identify trends to understand how daily activities affect their blood sugar levels. Using Bluetooth, the new app collects, stores, and analyzes blood sugar levels it has received from the monitoring device — information that patients can share easily with their health care providers.

The new monitoring device, or meter, produces results that go beyond minimum industry accuracy standards.1,2 In addition, the meter uses coloured lights to indicate if a reading is too high, too low, or within target range. It also prompts for blood to be reapplied within 60 seconds if there is not enough the first time, which helps prevent wasted test strips.

Increasing comfort

Zaharieva, who took up mixed martial arts three years ago after a career as an internationally ranked taekwondo competitor, manages her diabetes by following a strict diet and exercise regimen, and by using a blood glucose meter and pump to ensure she gets the appropriate amount of insulin she needs to perform at her best.

Zaharieva, a PhD candidate in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science at York University, recently teamed up with Mike Riddell, a professor in the same faculty, to publish “Insulin Management Strategies for Exercise in Diabetes” in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes.

“Fortunately, we’re now learning more about the individual blood sugar responses that athletes with diabetes have when they exercise and play sports,” says Riddell, whose research and interests focus on the metabolic and hormonal responses to exercise and stress in diabetes. “With this knowledge, we will see more customization and individualized treatment options for people who are living with Type 1 diabetes and are trying to reach training and athletic goals.”

Technologies on the horizon

Riddell has a personal connection to the subject. He is one of roughly three million Canadians living with Type 1 diabetes. “When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the 1980s, I had a blood test kit with a large lancet and strips that changed color based on how high my glucose was. You needed a very large drop of blood and you would never know the precise blood sugar number. The test took about five minutes,” says Riddell. “Now we have small rechargeable meters that can measure a very small sample of blood in seconds,” adding that his meter automatically syncs with his insulin pump.

“Research is always evolving and trying to answer the questions we face every single day with diabetes,” Zaharieva says. “We have seen so many tremendous technologies appear on the market, and there are new and even more exciting ones just on the horizon.” 

1 CONTOUR® NEXT ONE meter meets ±10% accuracy vs. laboratory method, specifically: 97.4% of results within ±10% for blood glucose concentrations ≥5.55 mmol/L, and 100% of results within ±0.56 mmol/L accuracy vs. laboratory method for blood glucose concentrations <5.55 mmol/L.
2 In a clinical study, conducted in accordance with  the requirements of ISO 15197:2013, the CONTOUR® NEXT ONE not only met and exceeded the minimum requirements of the standard but an ad hoc analysis determined where 95% of results fell during the study, which was within ±0.47 mmol/L or ±8.4% of the laboratory reference value for glucose concentrations <5.55 mmoL/L or ≥ 5.55  mmoL/L, respectively, when tested via subject obtained capillary fingertip results (patients).   Christiansen M et al. J Diabetes Sci Technol   2017;11(3):567-573.
®™ see www.ascensiadiabetes.ca/tm-mc