Ala Eldin Omer
Location: Waterloo, Ontario Canada
Company: University of Waterloo
Inspired by: Diabetes is a huge and growing problem, and its costs to the society are high and escalating. Over 450 million people worldwide suffer from Diabetes. In North America, 37 million people, and in Canada, about 5.0 million Canadians (about 15% of the population) are expected to be with diabetes by 2025. Diabetics are in enormous need for frequent self-monitoring and control of blood glucose to help reducing its progression and avert any potential complications. Negligence to preserve certain glycemic targets would probably put the patient at the risk of experiencing the extreme events of hyperglycemia (> 230 mg/dL) resulting into serious health complications such as heart attack or failure, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, etc. Alternatively, for very low glycemia levels, patients would encounter hypoglycemia (< 65 mg/dL) that could rapidly lead to life-threating events such as coma or death.
Abundant evidences point to clinical benefits following frequent self-monitoring of blood glucose in Type-1 (6 – 10 times/day), insulin and non-insulin treated Type-2 (2 – 4 times/day) diabetes. However, the pain, burden, expenses, overthinking, time management, and inconveniences associated with current self-monitoring technology where patients must prick their fingers multiple times a day to draw blood samples and constantly purchase a fresh supply of test papers, can lead to patient noncompliance and insufficient number of daily measurements. Additionally, these invasive devices could only provide glucose measurements at a specific time spot by the time of testing. Therefore, their readings will not reflect any long-term patterns or trends in glucose fluctuations due to specific lifestyles, diet regimes, or medication intakes.
Accordingly, we have suggested that non-invasive continuous glucose monitoring via a pain-free portable microwave sensor may encourage more frequent glucose estimations and thus contribute more generously to diabetes care and prevention. Through continuous glucose monitoring, symptoms of diabetes are properly managed, responses to remedies are better evaluated, glycemic targets set by physicians are closely achieved, and progressive complications are prevented.
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