New remote monitoring device provides lifeline for people with diabetes

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MERRIAM, Kan. --  Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is a major worry for some people with diabetes.   Their bodies don't let them know when they're getting into the danger zone.  New technology is giving patients and their loved ones peace of mind.

Vicky Viner's husband, Phil, has been her rescuer from hypoglycemia.

"She gets so weak she kinda falls down, and it can get real serious real fast," he said.

Viner, who has type one diabetes, has an implanted sensor that continuously measures her blood sugar.   A receiver sounds an alarm when she's headed into the danger range.  Viner says sometimes it happens while she's asleep.

"All of a sudden, I'll get poked in the rib.  Hey, go eat something or you've beeped four times," said Viner.

Now, even if she and her husband are thousands of miles apart, he'll know what her blood sugar numbers are just by looking at his cell phone.  It will sound an alarm if her blood sugar reaches a danger point.

With the Dexcom SHARE glucose monitoring system, Viner can choose up to five recipients.  The receiver she wears will transmit data to their phones.

"This is just that lifeline, that lifeline that lets you go ahead and live your life and know that hey, not only will it alert me, it will alert my loved ones as well," said Melissa Magwire, a diabetes nurse educator with Shawnee Mission Health.

Magwire says the device recently notified a man in St. Louis that his brother in Topeka was in trouble.

"So he called 911 from St. Louis, and 911 went in and assisted this patient who'd had a low and was unable to help himself," said Magwire.

Viner thinks she can be more independent.

"I'll be able to go more places on my own knowing that he'll be alerted if something's happening," said Viner,

Her husband added, "We can also hook it up to our children who are in other parts of the country and they can monitor, too."

The new device will be one of many topics covered this Saturday at "Take Control of Your Diabetes,"  a conference and health fair at the Overland Park Convention Center.  For more information or to register, go to  www.tcoyd.org   or call 800-998-2693.

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