Diabetes is a worsening threat across the United States and around the world. It endangers both the quantity and the quality of life for those diagnosed.
In regards to the latter concern, a diabetes diagnosis increases a person’s likelihood of becoming disabled from diabetes-related health complications. Additionally, the life expectancy of a person with diabetes is 4.6 years lower than someone without it.
For all the harm that diabetes can and does inflict, however, there is hope. Diabetes can be managed with proper medical care and healthy lifestyle choices. Now more than ever, health technology plays a pivotal role in that process.
This article examines the role that wearable health technologies are playing in diabetes management today and into the future.
What Is Diabetes and Why Does It Matter?
Diabetes is a chronic and often progressive endocrine and metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) and resulting organ and tissue damage. Within this pervasive disease, there are three types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 is usually diagnosed in early childhood and is characterized by the body’s inability to produce insulin.
- Gestational diabetes: This type of diabetes is a pregnancy-induced condition that often resolves after childbirth.
- Type 2 diabetes: As the most common form of diabetes, Type 2 is characterized by insufficient insulin production or, more commonly, insulin resistance.
As you may be able to see, all diabetes types may experience insulin resistance. Insulin resistance severely inhibits the cells’ ability to absorb glucose and metabolize it as energy. Even as the cells are starved of the fuel they need to function properly, the blood is saturated by sugar. Blood glucose acts much like little shards of glass circulating through the vessels and the tissues, causing widespread and severe damage throughout the body.
When not properly managed, diabetes can significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, life-threatening infections, and some forms of cancer.
More than 37 million Americans have some form of diabetes — over 10% of the total population, with over a million new cases diagnosed each year. Unfortunately, rates of type 2 diabetes are surging in Western societies, especially among the younger population.
Many experts believe the prevalence of diabetes can be traced to Western lifestyle factors, including poor diet and a lack of physical activity. Western food systems, for example, overflow with highly-processed foods and beverages, products replete with hidden sugars. Sugar culture is so pervasive in the US to the point that the average American consumes an estimated 17 teaspoons of added sugar every day — more than any other industrialized nation.
Health Tech Wearables and Diabetes Management
Though rates of diabetes continue to increase in the US, healthcare providers have more and better tools than ever before for managing the disease effectively.
Health tech wearables are showing particular promise in diabetes management. These devices can be used, for example, to assist patients in cultivating a healthier lifestyle by monitoring the wearers’ activity levels and nutritional intake.
For instance, soft drinks are a leading source of hidden sugars, encompassing the preponderance of the sugar consumed by the average American each day. A simple change in your daily beverage choices can make a tremendous difference in blood glucose levels, which is why wearable nutrition counters are so invaluable for disease management.
High-quality fitness trackers and nutrition counters can be purchased over the counter to support the development of a healthier lifestyle for diabetes patients.
In addition, an array of sophisticated, prescription-only health tech is also available to further enhance diabetes management. This includes automated glucose monitoring and insulin delivery systems which can be life-saving for those with type 1 diabetes.
These innovations are made possible through significant advances in network technology. Among the most important of these for health tech wearables is the advent of 5G networks, providing exceptional speed, reliability, and capacity for connected devices.
Managing Diabetes Through Nutrition and Exercise
The core of long-term diabetes management is lifestyle. This includes a diet rich in vegetables, abundant plant proteins, and low-glycemic fruits to maintain healthy glucose levels and minimize dangerous blood sugar spikes and rapid drops.
To be more specific, you can maintain a diabetes-friendly diet by focusing foods that help you regulate those blood sugar levels. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts, for example, produce sulforaphane when chopped up or chewed — according to Healthline, sulforaphane is a type of isothiocyanate that has blood-sugar-reducing properties. Other foods that can help lower your regulate your blood sugar include:
- Seafood and fatty fish
- Nuts and nut butter
- Beans and lentils
- Spinach and leafy greens
- Kimchi and sauerkraut
- Apples, berries, and fruits
Additionally, nutrition monitors can help patients ensure they are getting the nutrients they need and making choices that will help them more effectively regulate glucose levels through diet. At the same time, continuous glucose monitors provide patients with clear, specific, and comprehensive data on their body’s unique metabolic processes. This can help them determine which foods are more likely to spike their glucose, when, and for how long, supporting more informed and effective nutritional choices.
Likewise, activity trackers enable patients to prioritize exercise as a way to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation — a critical issue in diabetes management.
Diabetes is a dangerous and prolific enemy. On the bright side, innovations in wearable health tech have made it possible to manage the disease effectively. Now, anyone facing a diagnosis has a roadmap, ensuring wellness, vitality, and longevity. Health wearables enable persons with diabetes to more effectively manage their nutrition more, track their activity levels, and even automate their glucose monitoring and insulin delivery. The results are more stable and healthier blood glucose levels and organs and tissues protected from the ravages of hyperglycemia.
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.
Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases.
Studies have shown that supplementation with nutrients from fruits and vegetables may improve age-related changes.
NutriFusion develops all‐natural fruit and/or vegetable powders that are nutrient dense for use in foods, beverages, supplements, and pet foods.
NutriFusion can help! Visit us at www.nutrifusion.com.