How to use artificial intelligence to treat diabetes and dialysis patients

Millions of patients enter their doctors’ office every day around the world seeking information on how to better manage their diabetes. And while getting information on blood glucose trends can be helpful, patients are largely on their own the moment their appointment is over.

That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) enters the picture. Imagine getting real-time information on blood glucose levels without having to prick your finger. Imagine changing your diet because you can identify which foods are causing your blood to spike. Imagine having the ability to predict your blood sugar levels up to an hour in advance.

Continuous real-time information is the key to futuristic care for diabetes and dialysis patients, and it’s all thanks to artificial intelligence.

Diabetes meets AI

New technology, such as Abbott Freestyle Libre and Dexcom G6 (among various competitors), have slowly been making massive ripples in the way patients self-manage their diabetes. This new technology, known as Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM), is innovative because it’s FDA-approved and helps patients to make decisions on insulin dosage with the tap of a button.

CGM devices send wireless transmissions to your smartphone, delivering real-time information about glucose levels. This allows patients to continuously monitor their levels and take immediate action in the event of a severe spike. Medtronic, a competitor of Abbott Freestyle Libre and Dexcom G6, even offers technology that claims to predict low blood sugar 10 – 60 minutes before it happens.

“Predict” is the keyword here. By continuously monitoring blood sugar levels, Medtronic learns your highs and lows which enables it to predict when these moments may occur, alerting patients to take immediate action (such as taking an insulin shot).

Diabetes coaching in real time

Continuous monitoring is one way to manage diabetes; real-time coaching in the palm of your hand is another. Apps such as BlueStar diabetes acts as a diabetes coach that sits in your pocket. Patients can enter their blood glucose results (that they receive from their CGM) and immediately receive suggestions on what they should do next.

BlueStar solves a significant issue in diabetes care that doctors often fear the most – a patient’s ability to manage their own symptoms when they’re alone. This technology gives patients advice the moment they need it, allowing them to record what they eat, how it affects their blood sugar levels and removing much of the guesswork required by doctors.

Connecting the dots

The hope is that technology will begin to play a much more significant role in diabetes care which in turn can help patients to find a correlation between their behaviors (such as the foods they eat) and how it’s affecting their health.

Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize the way we manage diabetes. Not only are patients given information in real-time, but they’re also given guidance on what they should do to manage their symptoms.

Freestyle Libre, Dexcom G6, Medtronic and BlueStar are all positive signs that artificial intelligence has the potential to transform diabetes care. As the technology improves and becomes more popular patients will be given more power over their ability to self-manage their condition, improving their quality of life and eliminating the need for guesswork the next time they visit their doctor.

Author: Laszlo Varga