Essay: Diabetes Mellitus

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  • Subject area(s): Health essays
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  • Published on: March 23, 2018
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  • Diabetes Mellitus
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Present Technology

Diabetes Mellitus is a common condition in which many humans have the possibility to develop over time or are born with. Commonly referred to as Diabetes, the condition deals with high blood sugar due to the pancreas not being able to produce enough insulin, or cells not reacting properly with the insulin. There are two common types. “With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well” (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2017). This disease is growing more common among the world, and the glucose must be monitored in an efficient way for many who have this condition.

The product Glucose Monitoring System (GMS) is similar to an assortment of present technology. The FitBit is quite similar to what this prototype will be. The Apple Watch is also similar, but it serves an alternate function(s), along with the Fitbit. There are other devices that are prototyped and use sweat to monitor glucose levels, however they are not perfected and have their flaws. The goal is to make a device similar but more useful in features and usability. Also, the device will be practical and affordable, unlike many other similar devices that have trouble being bought due to those factors.

The first device is a CGM. It stands for Continuous Glucose Monitoring, and it monitors the glucose levels in a human body. A CGM is a bit invasive and impractical, due to the fact that a sensor is attached to someone at all times on the belly, and the sensor goes under the skin to measure glucose. It is a bit inaccurate too, because the

subject still has to use the finger-stick method and the device is quite expensive.

A Fitbit is a wearable band or clip that usually measures the amount of steps someone takes each day and the calories burned. There are other kinds of Fitbits, which include a watch Fitbit, and a heart rate monitoring Fitbit. What it measures differs from what the planned device will monitor, but the principal where it is in a band form is exactly what is being aimed for in our apparatus.

The Apple Watch is a recreational device that can tell the time and has apps that are playable. It is basically a super tiny iPhone. You can also call other people on the Apple Watch and see the temperature in your area. Apple is currently working on how to make a glucometer that is functional.

“Fitness trackers that monitor heart rate and step count are very popular, but wearable, non-invasive biosensors would be extremely beneficial for managing diseases” (Phys.org, 2016). What was learned from this site is that the material needed is the same kind of material in a blood testing strip to make a reliable sensor. The more sweat a subject produces, the increase of resulting accuracy. Also, the factor of a GMS being non-invasive will be much preferred among users.

“This wearable wristband has the looks of a common smartwatch, but the functionality of a glucometer” (MedGadget, 2017). This is basically a cheaper Apple Watch that can tell the time, date, and glucose level. The passage doesn’t go into detail about whether or not the watch has a touchscreen though it appears to be so. This wristband is $99.

History

The initial widely used method of glucose monitoring included the Urinalysis method, which was created in 1941. It required a sample of urine, and then a test tablet was put into the sample to measure sugar. However, there was an earlier method of monitoring glucose in 1925. This required a smaller amount of urine (approximately 8 drops) and was boiled, but later replaced by the urine-test tablet technique. Using test tablets to monitor glucose and sugar level is quite popular among doctors for their patients, and still used today. The test tablets will be used up and another quantity will be needed to be purchased for continuous tests, thus why measuring glucose levels electronically is more efficient. Other expelled substances and vitamins could mask the exact sugar level in a urinalysis.

In the early 1960’s and late 1970’s, scientists created a chart called the Ames meter. The subject would have to put some of its blood on the meter, wait 50 seconds, and then wash the blood off with warm water. Whatever color the blood residue is, determines the user’s sugar level. ”The first easy-to-use home glucose meters really didn’t arrive on the scene until around 1981 with the Glucometer and a few others.” (Coulter, 2017). The glucometers required test strips, could be painful to use, expensive, and inaccurate. There could have been coding errors and memory storage difficulties. All of these factors come into play in trying to find the perfect glucometer for someone.

Many of the electronic glucometers required a finger prick to determine the results. “Blood is exposed to an enzyme… Once the blood is exposed to this enzyme, it oxidizes (loses electrons), and it is then passed through an electrode, which reads the current” (Coulter, 2017). This is probably the most popular electronic technique (Started in the 1980s) of measuring blood glucose today. Now, more technologically advanced glucometers are being developed into the continuous task of accurately and efficiently measuring glucose levels.

Future Technology

It is predicted that in about 20 years, anti-prick gadgets for monitoring glucose may be favorable among people, especially those with diabetes. Many companies are currently battling it out on how to make the most efficient glucometer, as well as which method of measuring is best. Take for example, Apple is attempting to create a bracelet- like device that measures glucose. They are facing many obstacles before their device can be completely finished and on the market. The GMS is planned to be completely different in appearance and technique in measuring glucose levels. A certain method of determining sugar levels will emerge as best and will be most widely used among society.

In approximately two decades, the device planned will be constructed of an elastic band (preferably Lycra) that is 10 inches in length and 1 inch wide. Similar to an Apple Watch, there will be a miniature touchscreen mounted on the band, and electrochemical sensors underneath the tight-fitting Lycra band. The sensors will be padded in heated memory foam, in which the heaters are adjustable for desired temperature. Temperature should be warm enough to produce sweat. The memory foam provides comfort for the wearer.

The band will come adjustable, just like a watch that could be tightened and loosened. Sensors will pick up sweat, and extract glucose, using similar steps with taking a blood sample and measuring glucose levels. The electrochemical sensors are extremely sensitive, accurate and don’t require immense amounts of sweat, in which at least a microliter of perspiration is needed. The heaters will be embedded inside the memory foam and go up to 43.3°C (110°F), and as low as 26.6°C (80°F). There will be an on button on the side of the touch screen, and a volume adjuster button as well. This button layout is of similar technique to a smartphone or tablet.

Factory stock options are to be included, of which are adjustability, water resistancy, and features on the touch screen. Any color the customer chooses will be shipped to him/her in the desired color. The Lycra band will shield the sensors and heaters from liquid. The touch screen when starting out will ask for height, weight, blood type, and any other medical conditions. It will also ask for usual blood sugar level. When a GMS monitors someone, it will automatically determine glucose levels every hour, and at the end of each week, will calculate average glucose levels, and if it got too high or low. The following measurements from previous weeks will be compared to later tests. When glucose reaches abnormal or dangerous levels, the miniature computer will make a loud beep and will tell the user to take an insulin injection. The device will later inquire what you ate and drank. A voice recognition recording system will be provided for areas that require information to be inputted by the user. Due to the touch screen size, a keyboard will be too difficult to use.

Custom options include graphics on Lycra band and band lengths for those who need special sizes. Also, the color of foam on the underband is custom to any color desired (stock comes black). Screen protectors do not come out of the factory, so it is suggested that customers purchase one to protect their screen.

The touch screen provided with a GMS will come waterproof and a first free replacement. If any conflicts leave a touchscreen cracked, broken, or shattered, a first replacement will come free. Simply take the touchscreen out of the case and put the new one back in. The case comes attached to the band. A second replacement screen will cost $200 and a third will be $300. Each replacement will go up by $100 to teach those to take better care of their GMS. The customer only gets one chance of danger replacement for free.

The technological specs of the GMS include 10 gigabytes of internal memory storage, 2 gigabytes ram and a custom made intel central processing unit card, which measures at ¼ by ¼ inches. If a customer runs out of memory containing all their glucose level files, they may buy a 5 gigabyte microchip add on (for a maximum storage space of 15 gigabytes) that plugs into a little HDMI port on the side. It appears as a little black rectangular device that is mostly flat and measures at 1/10 by 3/10 inches. The screen runs at 720p resolution highest and at a 30 Frames Per Second graphic speed.

Possible hazards include, a rare chance of electrocution and overheating. If there is an area that is opened because of damage purposes, and liquid gets inside, there is a chance of electrocution. Before each customer purchases a GMS, they must fill out paperwork and sign it dealing with the company takes no responsibility if a GMS malfunctions and causes harm. This product is in the alpha stage so all the kinks have not been worked out yet. Even though GMS is waterproof when worn, it is highly suggested the user should take it off before any activities that require swimming or any other contact with liquids. A GMS is only waterproof when being worn on the user’s wrist, as when taken off, it exposes the underband of the watch which includes the heaters and sensors. There is a possibility if the subject leaves their heaters on for an extended period of time, their core body temperature may raise a few degrees Fahrenheit/Celsius.

Breakthroughs

Some breakthroughs include but are not limited to; Miniscule heaters that can heat up to 80°F and above, comfortable memory foam that is inexpensive, and cheap lycra. An issue that must be addressed is the budget issue. We only have so much money, which could affect the quality and materials we can access. Lycra costs $16.00 per yard, which might result in a cheaper lycra needing to be invented. Another necessary technology that will need to exist are quick, fast, industrial machines capable of constructing many wristbands at once.

We also need a cheap, touch-sensitive lense that can withstand lots of water for a touchscreen. Another necessary breakthrough will be extremely sensitive sensors that are very comfortable. Creating a small touchscreen will not be a major issue, due to the fact that they are already in existence, and companies such as Apple and Samsung are making them more useful, reliant, and popular. However, the most important breakthrough is creating a powerful battery for the GMS that does not overheat or explode.

We don’t want the battery to pose any harm to our customers, and could lead to issues in sales and a big loss of money. The battery must be small and compact as well. The battery is replaceable and will probably have similar batteries that are in a Watch. It is supposed to last for 1 week straight of use, before needing replacement.

This GMS doesn’t exist today because it is very hard for people to make an extremely accurate and reliable glucose monitoring band.

A possible investigation would be to give ourselves a budget and try to see how many watches are possible to make with it. We need to see what materials would be affordable for mass producing a product like this. We could buy these materials in bulk so we don’t have to look for them over and over again in certain retail stores. First, we make these watches by hand and then when we start acquiring a steady income, we will need to hire others to do the work for us before we can start buying robots to do the work instead of paying many people to do it for us.

An issue that will have to be addressed is buying an area to work or a factory. Buildings aren’t exactly cheap, they are at least $5,000 just for a small property. Plus, we will have to build the factory too, which will also be costly. We can keep a logbook containing the prices and effectiveness of each material and if it is worth purchasing in bulk. All the materials we use for the band can be relatively cheap at the beginning so we can spend more time on developing the screen and storage usage. As we gain more profit and prove that the monitor is effective, we can bring the band back to a more high-quality version of its prior self.

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