SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Type 1 diabetics need insulin every day to deal with their disease, but the life-saver comes with a potentially deadly side effect. Now a new system aims to keep patients safe.
“I went on a pump when I was in 7th grade,” Heidi Button told Ivanhoe.
For 18 years, Heidi Button has needed insulin to lower her blood sugars and to stay alive.
But, like most type one diabetics, she fears her blood sugars could go too low.
“It just takes one low blood sugar to kill you,” Button said.
One in twenty type one diabetics will die of a low blood sugar. That’s 411 people every day.
“They may be in a deep sleep and not know about it and therefore not respond,” Professor of Endocrinology at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Ruth Weinstock, MD, PhD, told Ivanhoe.
That’s where this technology comes in.
“Up to now, the glucose sensing devices and the pumps haven’t been connected in that they don’t talk to each other and do something about that blood sugar,” Dr. Weinstock said.
Now, if a patient doesn’t respond to a low blood sugar alarm, the VEO pump automatically shuts off insulin delivery for up to two hours.
“That should be long enough to allow the blood glucose levels to return to normal,” Dr. Weinstock said.
The device has helped Heidi when her alarm didn’t wake her up.
“And I slept right through it and I had no idea that my blood sugar was low,” Button explained.
Dr. Ruth Weinstock says the VEO could save lives.
“We hope that this would prevent those unnecessary deaths,” Dr. Weinstock stated.
The VEO pump has wrapped up phase three trials and is expected to get FDA approval sometime this year. Doctor Weinstock says it’s already being used in Europe. She believes this system is one of the first steps toward an artificial pancreas that could automatically regulate insulin levels. MORE
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