COLUMBUS -- With the number of people diagnosed with diabetes increasing in the nation, companies are introducing more products to monitor and treat the disease.
From handheld glucose readers to pager-sized insulin pumps, a few of the latest diabetes devices were on display at the annual Diabetes Awareness Day held Thursday at Platte County Agricultural Park.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, with another 7 million undiagnosed cases. There is no cure. The technology being developed is geared toward not only preventing complications from the disease, but also allowing people to live as normal lives as possible.
Much of the technology that has been created is more accurate and much smaller than in the past.
Lindsay Hallam, a representative with Medtronic, a company that produces MiniMed insulin pumps, said pumps used to be so large they were carried in a backpack. Now they are small enough to be slipped into a pocket or clipped onto a waistband.
Glucose meters have also shrunk and become more accurate more quickly. The ACCU-CHECK blood glucose monitoring system has a Nano meter that fits in the palm of your hand and gives readings in five seconds.
Dawn Rumery, a diabetes educator and representative with Novo Nordisk, a company that sells diabetes products such as insulin shots, said innovation has come a long way in helping people with the disease.
But, she said, in order to see a leveling off or decrease in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes, people need to improve their lifestyle choices.
“Until we change our behaviors, it will get worse,” Rumery said.
That includes improving diets and getting more exercise.
Locally, educational efforts have been made by offering programs that are geared toward both children and adults, said Joan Plummer, diabetes educator at Columbus Community Hospital. Those programs focus on prevention of the disease and also how to control it.
The most common form of diabetes is Type II and it occurs when the body does not use insulin properly. There has been an increase in that kind of diabetes, especially among children and teenagers. The development of the disease is linked to inactivity and being overweight.
Plummer said Type II is often labeled as being “silent” as symptoms such as thirst, frequent urination and lethargy don’t always show up right away. She said families need to make healthy lifestyle choices that include balanced diets and physical activity to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
Diabetes Awareness Day was sponsored by the hospital, Columbus Lions Club, The Columbus Telegram and Platte County Agricultural Society.