How glucose data can improve access to diabetes care

Dr. Kenneth Lee, Medical Affairs Director, Diabetes Care, APAC, Abbott

Posted at Nov 14 2022 12:11 PM

Thousands gather at the Quezon City Memorial Circle for a synchronized opening of umbrellas to form a blue circle in celebration of World Diabetes Day on Thursday. The event is attempting to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the feat. Manny Palmero, ABS-CBN News
Thousands gather at the Quezon City Memorial Circle for a synchronized opening of umbrellas to form a blue circle in celebration of World Diabetes Day on Thursday. The event is attempting to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the feat. Manny Palmero, ABS-CBN News

Data is the new currency of the modern healthcare system and preventive care. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries across the globe are relying on real-time data to assess and provide proper care to their patients.

For example, in Singapore, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) signed a memorandum of agreement with SingHealth to collaborate on how big data can be used for precision medicine and smart technologies for diabetes care.

The collaboration between these two major institutions tells us that data will be the future of healthcare in Asia Pacific, especially in diabetes care.

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Data for diabetes care

The foundation of diabetes care is a patient’s glucose data. Glucose is the sugar which circulates into our system to supply energy in the body. Our body will regulate our sugar levels to support vital bodily functions.

With enough insulin, glucose can enter the cells to ensure stable and well-balanced health. If left unchecked or unregulated, this can cause harm to the body leading to diabetes. 

This shows how important knowing what our glucose data is and where it is going. By ensuring our sugar levels are within the recommended range, our body will continue to function normally. This data can also tell us about the needed adjustments towards a personalized and responsive diabetes care, together with the professional advice of our endocrinologists or diabetologists. 

Diabetes care in the Philippines

Recent data shows that more than 6 million Filipinos have diabetes . Data from the International Diabetes Federation also show that the prevalence rate of diabetes among adults in the Philippines is 6.3%.

Unfortunately, these numbers are expected to increase in the next decade.

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Latest research about diabetes care in the Philippines showed that the major challenges in improving diabetes care includes poor adherence to monitoring, medical treatment and lifestyle changes.

As I mentioned earlier, the foundation of diabetes care is knowing one’s sugar levels. Most patients living with diabetes rely on blood glucose monitors or finger sticks to measure their glucose levels. 

While this technology has been helpful for decades, this tradition has been tedious. Imagine pricking your fingers to draw one drop of blood every day to measure your glucose. However, continuously pricking your fingers may develop massive scarring/callous formation and perception hindrance.

For a condition as crucial as diabetes, this method of measurement is unsustainable. It is paramount to know one’s glucose data as accurate and as real-time as possible to ensure positive diabetes management outcomes.

Enter data from continuous glucose monitoring technology

Fortunately, it is now possible to know one’s glucose data without the pain and inconvenience of finger sticks. Knowing one’s sugar levels quickly and accurately in just one scan is now a reality. 

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Abbott is one of the first healthcare companies to introduce continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology through the Abbott FreeStyle Libre System. Continuous glucose monitoring enables patients to monitor their glucose in just one quick and painless scan using a reader and a sensor anytime and anywhere. 

This biosensor measures glucose through the body’s interstitial fluid, or the liquid that surrounds the cells. CGM can also provide a complete and comprehensive glucose profile for patients and their caregiver’s reference. Doctors can also access this data through cloud-based technologies such as LibreView.

This gives doctors and patients the opportunity to finally collaborate in creating a personalized diabetes management plan. 

Data-driven diabetes care has the potential to ensure preventive and patient-centric care for all Filipinos impacted by diabetes. It also allows patients living with the condition to live their life better. 

Diabetes care was once a long and complicated process. Now, with real-time and accurate data provided by new and available technologies, diabetes will not have to control an individual’s life. 

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