The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimate that 37.3 Americans have diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how someone’s body turns food into energy.
There are three main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin injections or use an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin or use insulin effectively. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, often associated with obesity and other health conditions. People with type 2 diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, and oral medications. However, some people with type 2 diabetes may also need insulin injections.
Gestational diabetes: This is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, but it increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Women with gestational diabetes must carefully manage their blood sugar levels to prevent complications for themselves and their babies.
There are also other types of diabetes, including:
- MODY (maturity-onset diabetes of the young) is a group of genetic conditions that cause diabetes. MODY is usually diagnosed in children or young adults but can occur at any age.
- Diabetes due to other medical conditions can occur due to other health conditions, such as pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, or certain medications.
- Diabetes not otherwise specified (NOS) is a diagnosis used when a person has diabetes but does not meet the criteria for any of the other types of diabetes.
Given how prevalent diabetes is, various tools and technologies can help people with the condition. When picking a device, consider ease of use if your insurance will cover it, how it stores and reports information and accessible customer service. Figuring out what tools to use is an excellent conversation with your doctor.
Some of the most common diabetes management tools include:
- Blood glucose meters: These devices measure the amount of glucose in the blood. People with diabetes typically check their blood sugar levels several times a day to make sure they are in a healthy range.
- Insulin pumps: These devices deliver insulin automatically based on the person’s blood sugar levels. Insulin pumps can be a useful option for people who need multiple injections of insulin daily.
- Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs): These devices measure the amount of glucose in the blood every few minutes and send the information to a receiver or smartphone. CGMs can help people with diabetes identify trends in their blood sugar levels and adjust their insulin doses as needed.
- Insulin pens: These devices make it easier to inject insulin than using a syringe. Insulin pens come in various sizes and colors; some have features that make them easier to use, such as a click-counting mechanism.
- Blood ketone meters: These devices measure the amount of ketones in the blood. Ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of fat, and they can build up in the blood when blood sugar levels are high. High levels of ketones can be dangerous, so people with diabetes must check their ketone levels regularly.
- Glucose tablets: These are small, portable tablets that contain glucose. Glucose tablets can be used to treat low blood sugar.
- Diabetes management apps: There are many apps available that can help people with diabetes manage their condition. These apps can track blood sugar levels, insulin doses, food intake, and other important information. Check out this list over at Healthline.
Diabetes management resources can be helpful for people with diabetes. However, talking to your doctor about which approach and devices are right for you is essential and will help you determine which resources best meet your needs.