Research study aims to improve diabetes self-management

A man and a woman are seated in an office. The woman is looking at a small device she is holding in her hands.
Diabetes research nurse Penny Dwyer demonstrates the device to research participant Brad Snell.
November 28, 2018

A study at Fremantle Hospital is investigating the effectiveness of a device that checks blood glucose levels in diabetics using insulin.

Fremantle Hospital endocrinologist Professor Timothy Davis initiated the research, which is being funded by the Spinnaker Health Research Foundation and conducted by The University of Western Australia (UWA) School of Medicine and Pharmacology.

People with diabetes currently use the ‘finger-prick’ test and a blood glucose meter to test their blood glucose levels and the study aims to determine whether the device will help people who experience low blood sugar episodes to avoid similar episodes in the future.

UWA research nurse Penny Dwyer said the device – a fine needle sensor attached to an adhesive patch – is applied to the upper arm and lasts for 14 days.

“A wireless reader gives the user real time glucose readings and indicates in which direction their blood sugar is trending,” she said.

“Users can scan as often as they like to make sure they aren’t experiencing a low blood sugar episode.”

Low blood sugar can be an acute complication arising from insulin treatment or with some oral diabetes medication.

Severe reactions, when the blood sugar is below normal, can be fatal and may account for as many as 25 per cent of avoidable diabetes-related hospitalisations and emergency department presentations.

Follow South Metropolitan Health Service on Facebook (external site) and keep up to date with all the latest news at Fremantle Hospital.