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From Happy Coincidence To Continuous Monitoring

5 July 2005

From Happy Coincidence To Continuous Monitoring

When Diabetes Hawke’s Bay chair, Mike Smith was organising a meeting in Hawke’s Bay of the national Diabetes New Zealand board, he got into discussion with Dawn Stuart, of the Hawke’s Bay Diabetic Trust about diabetes in Hawke’s Bay. Coincidentally, Dawn was a present trustee, along with Jack Braithwaite of the Hawke’s Bay Diabetic Trust, which had been established in 1984 by the then operating Lions Club of Napier, to raise and provide funds for activities supporting people with diabetes in the region.

The Trust was about to wind up and had a significant amount of money to release to the diabetic community. Diabetes, which is characterised by raised blood glucose, can result in serious complications including disease of the cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys and feet. Diabetes is responsible for approximately 25% of the current disparity in life expectancy between Maori and Pacific peoples and New Zealand Europeans.

Mike Smith already worked closely with Andrea Rooderkerk, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s diabetes nurse specialist; and together they put a proposal to the Trust. They requested funds for a health camp for Hawke’s Bay children with diabetes ($2600) and the balance (around $8000) be used for purchasing a high-tech continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) - both applications were approved. CGMS has been widely used in diabetes units and hospitals internationally over the past three years or so, and only more recently in New Zealand.

Given the growing incidence of diabetes and the complexity of its treatment, the ability to plan treatment programmes and avoid hospital admissions has the Hawke’s Bay diabetes community excited. Essentially the device is connected to the patient for three days. During this time the sensor collects a blood sample every 10 seconds, calculates the blood glucose level and stores the information ready to be interpreted by the hospital or outpatient diabetes centre.

Says Mike Smith “People with diabetes who have had multiple hospital admissions, children or pregnant woman whose blood sugar levels may be fluctuating widely are prime candidates to have their condition assessed with this system. Potentially we have the opportunity to make a huge difference to their quality of life.”

ENDS

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