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The Importance of Blood Glucose Monitoring During the COVID-19 Pandemic Listen with ReadSpeaker

The Importance of Blood Glucose Monitoring During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Recent clinical data shows that intensive care unit patients with virus infections are more likely to have underlying diabetes. This means that COVID-19 patients with diabetes are more likely to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome and septic shock, which can lead to multiple organ failure.

Patients with diabetes who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 may experience additional stress and increased secretion of hyperglycemic hormones such as glucocorticoid and catecholamines, which results in elevated blood glucose, abnormal glucose variability, and diabetic complications.To avoid aggravation, a patient's blood glucose monitoring should be considered during the COVID-19 patient's hospitalization.

For critical cases, early identification could prevent worse symptoms and adverse medication reactions for instance glucocorticoid-induced hyperglycemia. During the fourth-week follow-up period after discharge, blood glucose homeostasis should be maintained continuously, and patients need to avoid infectious diseases due to lower immune response. Long-term follow-up is still essential for diabetic patients to reduce diabetes-related complications and mortality.

Here are the key features of blood glucose monitoring:

The Asia-Pacific blood glucose monitoring market is expected to grow more than nine percent annually and is estimated to exceed USD 3.8 billion by 2025. With the numerous blood glucose monitors available in the market, selecting the appropriate product for a particular patient can be overwhelming for physicians, diabetes educators, doctors, and pharmacists.

 

Most monitors are comparable in performance, but they vary in terms of plasma versus whole blood calibration, testing site, meter size and shape, test time, sample size, memory capacity, software compatibility, complexity, and test strips. The equipment should be approved by either the International Organization for Standardization or the US Food and Drug Administration.

 

There is no single blood glucose monitor that is better than all the others. When selecting one, it is recommended to get complete and thorough information or even a training regarding how to conduct self-monitoring blood glucose properly and correctly.

 

The healthcare provider or pharmacist will be the key person to help a patient choose a monitor based on their preferences as well as other factors like cost, ease of use, and accuracy. For example, pharmacists must have an extensive understanding of the blood glucose monitoring products they sell together with diabetes educations, glucometer education for self-monitoring blood glucose, and understand the steps of offsite testing.

While blood glucose monitors are reasonably accurate, there can still be some variability between different products. It is always advisable to use caution and common sense when selecting the right device. If the result does not seem to be accurate, for example, if it indicates that the blood glucose level is very low, but the patients do not have any occurring symptoms, take a second reading or use an alternate method for testing including a different device.

 

The use of continuous glucose monitoring (GCM) is a way to monitor blood glucose levels every five to 15 minutes throughout the entire day. CGM systems use a glucose sensor to measure the level of glucose in the fluid under the skin. The sensor is attached to a transmitter placed on your skin, which is held in place with a sticky patch. It wirelessly transmits results to a small recording device (no larger than a cell phone) or a smartphone or other smart device.

 

Because of the reliability issues, the warm-up periods, and the need to calibrate some of the devices, CGM does not eliminate the need for at least the occasional finger sticks. Experts think that CGM may be most useful in people who have frequent episodes of low blood glucose, episodes of low blood glucose during the night (nocturnal hypoglycemia), large fluctuations in their blood glucose levels, and/or difficulty recognizing when they have low blood glucose.

It is important that suppliers and distributors not only provide these blood glucose monitors but also train and guide their customers to use this equipment properly. This training is very important especially for hospital and pharmacy staff who in return can provide quality services to patients.

 

During the COVID-19 period, DKSH has conducted remote medical consultations for doctors, pharmacists, and patients to keep them updated regarding their blood glucose monitoring. Pharmacists can work to expand their pharmaceutical care services by helping people with diabetes pick the right blood glucose monitors and understand the importance of self-monitoring of blood glucose for people suffering from diabetes.

The blood glucose monitoring market is growing globally. A rise in the diabetic population, including in Asia, is driving the market and the rising use of blood glucose monitoring devices. DKSH is the distributor for Lifescan One Touch Ultra Flex, widely used by leading hospitals, pharmacies, and both modern and traditional drug stores across Asian markets.

Reach out to us to find out more about blood glucose monitors and how having the right device can help improve patient care in your market.

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About the author

Benny Kurniawan is the Senior Manager, Marketing Management at DKSH Business Unit Healthcare. Over the past 32 years of his career, he has been involved in many science books projects and module training around diabetes and glucose for many government and private organizations including Indonesia’s ministry, ROCHE, and the Association of Indonesian Medical Laboratory Technologists (PATELKI). His academic footprints can be seen in Indonesia, France, Germany, and Singapore.