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Smart warning of dangerous drop in blood sugar levels

29th February 2016

Smart warning of dangerous drop in blood sugar levels

A new medical device is revolutionising diabetes management in New Zealand and helping to ward off dangerous hypoglycaemic events by sending real-time glucose readings from someone with diabetes straight to a smart device.

The new Dexcom G5® Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System connects to a patient’s smart phone and incorporates a pioneering ‘Share’™ feature allowing as many as five people to receive a patient’s glucose readings and issue a warning if levels spike or drop too low.

It is also the first of its kind to give users freedom from confirmatory finger prick blood tests when making treatment decisions*. The added convenience and cost savings associated with no longer having to perform finger pricks to verify readings on the CGM will greatly enhance the appeal of this integrated diabetes management system.

Trish Snegirev, Diabetes division manager at the device’s distributors, New Zealand Medical and Scientific Ltd (NZMS) says the G5® Mobile technology will make it easier to track blood glucose levels and warn of a pending hypoglycaemic event, where blood glucose drops to dangerous levels and may result in a loss of consciousness or even a debilitating seizure.

She explains: `Known as a hypo, a sudden and dramatic dive in blood glucose levels can be life-threatening. The impact of low blood sugar can go un-noticed until it’s too late, which is why continuous glucose monitoring and warning alerts are so important. In New Zealand most people with diabetes manually monitor blood glucose with as many as fifteen finger prick blood tests each day. This new technology allows patients to track glucose levels with readings automatically taken every five minutes.’

One of the first New Zealanders to use the new device is four-year-old Georgia Hall who has Type 1 diabetes. Continuous glucose monitoring provides all- important peace-of-mind for her parents, Simon and Gabrielle.

Simon says: `We first started on the earlier model, the Dexcom G4™ CGM, late last year when our four-year old daughter Georgia started on her insulin pump. It instantly felt like we had the complete picture of what was happening with Georgia’s blood glucose levels rather than individual readings you get with blood finger prick tests. It also allows us to fine tune her insulin pump in a much more informed and accurate way – which is great for her diabetes control. It also gives us great reassurance in terms of monitoring overnight low blood sugars – which can be dangerous. After having one you feel very naked if you have to go without it!’

`Having the new G5 technology that sends information to our phones is fantastic. Georgia has just started a new day-care and it’s very reassuring for us to able to track her blood glucose levels remotely so we can see how she’s doing during the day – especially while the day-care are in the learning phase of her Diabetes care. Knowing that you’ll receive an alarm if Georgia is too high or low gives us peace of mind to focus on other things. Not having to wake her up in the middle of the night to give her finger prick tests is a huge advantage too.’

Auckland competition athlete Hamish Yates has been using the Dexcom G5® for the past few weeks. He says: ‘Despite understanding the concept of continuous glucose monitoring I was still surprised at the amount of data the G5 was able to constantly provide. I was alerted the moment my blood sugar went out of range, either high or low, and I had the ability to prevent going low, as the G5 would send an alert to my iPhone.’

‘The little arrows that told me the direction my blood sugar was heading and how fast it was doing so were such a benefit to my performance. It was enormously valuable to my sporting endeavours. I’m a cyclist, a runner, and I go to the gym.’

`The first year I did the Taupo Cycle Challenge I had around 40 minutes of stoppages for testing my blood sugar and eating accordingly. The next time I did it I had 20 minutes of stops. With the Dexcom, I don’t have to stop. One look at my iPhone, or at the Dexcom receiver, and I know what my blood sugar is and what it’s doing, and I can eat accordingly. All on the fly. I believe that this kind of technology is the future of management for people with type 1 diabetes. I was able to undertake activity almost the same as someone without diabetes would, and this was a huge psychological boost.’

The technology could also be used by patients with type 2 diabetes requiring continuous glucose monitoring as part of their management plan.

About Dexcom G5® Mobile: The Dexcom G5® Mobile CGM System features an exceptional performing glucose sensor while providing enhanced mobility and flexibility to view and share personal glucose data and trends. Data security and confidentiality are managed by using an encrypted Bluetooth low energy communication link and an authentication pairing process. The Dexcom G5®Mobile comes with a 7-day sensor and offers customisable alerts and a built-in low glucose alarm to provide patients with advanced warning to help them avoid dangerous high and low glucose events. Data from the Dexcom G5® Mobile can be integrated with DIASEND®, a communications platform that transfers and integrates CGM data and provides retrospective reports that help patients and caregivers with overall diabetes management.

With the Dexcom G5® Mobile CGM System, finger prick metres are needed to calibrate the CGM. The System can be used for guidance in making therapy and meal decisions. CGM is important because, in addition to providing the glucose level, it provides the direction and rate of glucose change with the push of a button and alerts users when glucose is too low or too high.

*If your glucose alerts and readings do not match your symptoms or expectations, you should obtain a finger prick. A minimum of two finger pricks a day is required for calibration. ^ For a list of compatible devices, visit


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