Home Gesundheit Sind Glukosemessgeräte für Menschen ohne Diabetes eine gute Idee?

Sind Glukosemessgeräte für Menschen ohne Diabetes eine gute Idee?

von NFI Redaktion

December 12, 2023 – Wearable Technology Making a Difference for Consumers

Wearable technology has made a significant impact on consumers. From rings and watches to bracelets, patches, and clothing – information that used to require complicated calculations is now easily accessible with just a swipe or a glance at a smartphone. Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) – devices that help people with diabetes avoid dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar levels – are among the latest wearables capturing attention. Approved by the FDA for diabetes use, millions of consumers are jumping on the CGM trend, supported by social media influencers and the promise of improved athletic performance, weight loss, and metabolic health. However, before joining the masses and purchasing one of these devices, it’s important to note that diabetes experts agree that CGMs are not quite mature for the consumer market, especially for individuals without diabetes who still want to monitor their blood sugar. „When you look at the history, there have been many cases where a large number of people followed something that in the end was not correct,“ said Dr. Tamara Oser, head of the diabetes lab for primary care at the Anschutz School of Medicine at the University of Colorado, Aurora. Despite their growing popularity, Oser said, „We must be aware that we still do not have truly convincing evidence that they will lead to a change in outcomes,“ she said.

Rising and Falling Blood Sugar Levels

Dr. Marc Kai, internist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, explained that blood sugar spikes after meals are a normal phenomenon. However, for someone with diabetes, the number may be higher, last longer, and take longer to return to normal. This is where monitors come into play: to see what is happening and when. The challenge arises when a person without diabetes takes in this information and reinterprets it to fit an often incomplete narrative. „Many companies selling CGMs and apps collect data from their customers and make generalizations, and that is simply inappropriate,“ said Danielle Omar, a registered dietitian and nutritionist based in Northern Virginia.

What CGMs Do and Don’t Do

Continuous glucose monitors were first developed in the 1990s to help patients with type 1 diabetes and are also used today for certain type 2 diabetes patients. Researchers are also exploring the benefits for other groups, including people with prediabetes and elite athletes. Nevertheless, these devices are not without limitations and are not suitable for everyone. Dr. David Lam, endocrinologist and associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said, „It is quite natural to take a glucose excursion.“ Although CGMs can likely inform people on how their baseline might look and provide positive reinforcement for reducing calorie intake, I do not know if they offer an advantage compared to the advice of a registered dietitian.“

In the foreseeable future, there is likely to be a place for continuous glucose monitors in the non-diabetes consumer market. Dr. Fernando Ovalle, endocrinologist and director of the Diabetes & Endocrine Clinical Research Unit at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, said further research is needed in order to know „what is truly normal and what is truly abnormal“ beyond the glucose tolerance test. Fundamentally, there must be improvement in technology. Dr. Oser said, „The measurements not only differ between the CGM devices, but they are also less accurate at lower than normal or high values. There is also the risk of „false lows.“ Dr. Kai added that one of the potential dangers of a healthy person using a continuous glucose monitor is information overload.

If you are still interested in trying out a continuous glucose monitor, at least consult your doctor or a registered dietitian who can help you understand what the numbers mean and how to use them in a way that makes sense for your personal health.

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