The new Dexcom G5 is a continuous glucose monitoring system designed to give a Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic a way to monitor their glucose readings with an app on their iPhone. This negates the need for constant pinpricks, since the device has a sensor located just beneath the skin.
The Dexcom G5 detects patterns, and the patient can then dose for insulin or eat to bring a high blood glucose reading down. For a parent with a child away from home (at school, for example), this creates a means of instant access and tracking since the device has Bluetooth. For the patient, the device not only tracks but also graphs glucose numbers so a patient can use the ‘Dexcom Clarity’ app on his iPhone to watch for trends and plan according.
It’s not perfect. The patient still has to do a finger test at least twice daily and enter that number to re-calibrate the device. It’s still recommended that patients test 8X per day.
If the patient’s glucose reading becomes too high or too low, their iPhone alarm will go off and a message will be sent to a parent or other caregiver. This is both a good and bad feature: since highs and lows make a diabetic vulnerable and sometimes confused, this is an excellent safeguard mechanism. On the other hand,it’s impossible to prevent this alarm from becoming more and more annoying without opening the app and acknowledging the alert. This has made it difficult for people in ‘silence’ situations, such as movie theaters or important business meetings, to use the app without creating a disturbance and/or looking unprofessional.
As technology evolves, we can look forward to many more life-altering apps like the Dexcom Clarity. In spite of the fact that these apps may start out with some bugs and known issues, eventually those things will get worked out--or someone will build a better app.