The answers vary as people vary. But for a more reliable solution, some people turn to continuous glucose monitors.
As unlikely as it seems, the increasing numbers are using a tiny flexible sensor that you can attach a tiny needle to the back of your arm. The sensors are synced with an app that tells you in real time which foods are raising your blood sugar. The device, known as CGM, is used to treat people with diabetes, and in addition to that, the market is small, potentially with tens of thousands of users, according to two analysts.
But CGM is gaining interest especially in sports and technology. Users include high-profile athletes such as Trevor Bauer, pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and a list of Silicon Valley founders, executives and investors, as well as some. Part of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, a sponsor of one of the ventures. Last month, a headline in Men̵7;s Health magazine asked, “Are you CGM?”
“We are talking about a nascent adoption,” said Marissa Schlueter, senior intelligence analyst at CB Insights, but she said more than 200 companies are working on glucose detection technology.
Because blood sugar can affect energy, focus, mood, cardiovascular system, chances of diabetes and long-term health, little patch-like gadgets are in great demand among technologists. Who care about the health of athletes and those who are “worried” who have not been diagnosed with anything But afraid that it will be
Maia Bittner, 32, who works for a technology company in Bellingham, Wash., Tried to get CGM. She has multiple ovarian syndrome, a symptom of diabetes. She doesn’t have diabetes. But fears that the high glucose levels reflected in her lab tests could “have a negative impact on my health.”
Over the past six months, investors have spent nearly $ 40 million on three startups developing software for phones and watches that sync with devices made by Abbott Laboratories and Dexcom Supersapiens, one of the startups. The early is aimed at athletes in Europe and is expected at some point to enter the US market. Another January received nutritional values for 16 million foods and meals, including groceries, recipes and restaurant menus, and used analyzes to tailor and predict individual blood glucose responses, according to Levels Health. Targeted at non-diabetics, it said 105,000 waiting lists are available, although the Levels app is still in beta testing. In addition to the glucose data, these apps add tracking metrics such as heart rate and oral medications.
Scarcity can be part of the need. As a medical device, the Food and Drug Administration continually regulates glucose monitoring and therefore requires a prescription. If you don’t have diabetes, hardly insurance will cover it. Many doctors will not prescribe medication.
So while some people can easily pick up the devices, others won’t be able to get them at all or find their prices bargain. The sensor software package can cost $ 288 for the 90-day program in January and $ 399 for the month-level.
The sensors, which are replaced every two weeks, must be worn long enough to teach the user what foods to avoid, which foods should be substituted or paired, and when to eat them so that their blood sugar response does not decrease. down Sensor costs are expected to continue to decline.
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However, some experts oppose such a widespread investigation. David Slawson, a professor of family medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, does not have rigorous research to show it improves the quality of life for healthy people and can lead to anxiety and depression. It looks great and the graphs are awesome and beautiful. But the truth is, it doesn’t improve anything, ”he said.“ We are crazy about doing this. ”
But some doctors think the technology trend cannot be reversed. If an education app is accurate and people are willing to pay out of pocket, “why not?” Said Dr. Silvio Inzucchi, professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and director of the Yale Medicine Diabetes Center. We are in the process of an obesity epidemic. “
About 34 million American adults have diabetes.Another 88 million, or more than a third of adults in the United States, have prediabetes, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines are seriously high blood sugar levels that raise the risk of heart disease. And blood vessels Researchers linked spikes in blood sugar levels, or variations in blood sugar, to an increased risk of death in people who did not have diabetes, but more than 84% of people with diabetes were unaware. I have the condition, according to the CDC.
“A lot of people say why you don’t read and eat low in carbs,” says Dr. Casey, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Levels Health. “The problem is, you and I can eat bananas alike. And my glucose could go up to 100 points, and you go up 10, everyone’s nutrition advice is very short. ”Given a new understanding of biochemical differences, she said.
Continuous monitoring of sugar levels made a splash on social media as soon as Mike Davidson got the sensors. In January, InVision vice president of design, a digital product design platform, tweeted, “Just installed a glucose meter. Continued from @Levels on my shoulder. Go eat a whole pizza bar now to test your stress. ”Pizza, fennel and sweet sausage and a few beers raised his glucose to 184 milligrams per deciliter from 94.” Ah, “he said. Less than 140 mg / dL) within hours
While Mr Davidson was audited as he assisted Levels Health in recruiting, Tim Mullen, CEO of Swift Run Capital Management in Charlottesville, Virginia, said his efforts to acquire it. that His late father had diabetes as well as his siblings. Many friends recommend the monitor.
When he contacted Dexcom for a monitor, he said he needed a prescription. His doctor said it was not worth it, but Mullen disagreed. “I mean, if a banana and blood glucose day are very different … monitors will complement good behavior,” he said in an email and added. Saying “which will help extend life expectancy”
Write to Betsy Morris at Betsy.Morris@wsj.com
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