FreeStyle means new breakthrough in blood glucose monitoring for diabetic patients

London 15 October 2002People with diabetes in the United Kingdom can be free from painful blood glucose testing with the launch of the new FreeStyle, a technologically superior blood glucose monitoring system, developed by Therasense, based in Alameda, California. For the first time, breakthrough technology means that the world's smallest blood sample can be taken from the arm, thigh or base of thumb as well as other parts of the body, for a quick and accurate blood glucose reading.

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Many people with diabetes do not test their blood sugar levels as often as they should because current finger-prick tests can be painful and inconvenient. However, without regular monitoring, people with diabetes have poor control over their blood sugar levels, which can potentially lead to serious health complications later in life, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, circulation problems, nerve damage, and damage to the kidneys and eyes.

Most people choose to test their blood from the forearms which has far fewer nerve endings than the finger tips, although other areas of the body such as the thighs are also suitable.

Simon O'Neill, Head of Care Development at Diabetes UK, stated: "Blood glucose testing can be painful and inconvenient for people with diabetes, who should be testing themselves regularly. It is important that people do test to make sure their glucose levels are as near to normal as possible and thus reduce the potential risk of debilitating long-term problems such as blindness and heart disease. The prospect of being able to test with less pain and away from the sensitive finger tips is one which will be welcomed by many people."

FreeStyle is available from chemists and the lancets and test strips are available on prescription from general practitioners. The FreeStyle system is also very convenient and smaller than most mobile telephones. Clinical studies have shown that most people find blood testing on their forearms using FreeStyle painless and the advanced technology means that only a fraction of 0,3 microlitres, or one third of the blood needed by other meters, is required for an accurate reading within fifteen seconds.

The Diabetes Control and Complication Trial (DCCT), a groundbreaking ten-year study of people with Type 1 diabetes, demonstrated that frequent glucose monitoring, together with appropriate insulin adjustments, can reduce many long-term complications of diabetes.

About 1,4 million people in the United Kingdom have been diagnosed with diabetes and the Department of Health estimates that a total of almost GBP 5,2 billion per year or GBP 13,4 million a day is spent on medical costs associated with diabetes. Diabetes represents 9 percent of all National Health Service's costs and 10 percent of hospital beds. Therefore, a key aim of the National Service Framework for Diabetes is to improve glucose control.

A recent study of type 2 diabetes sufferers by the UK Prospective Diabetes Study revealed that effective blood glucose control could reduce the risk of diabetic eye disease by 25 percent, and kidney damage by 33 percent. The United Kingdom joins other major markets benefiting from this unique blood glucose monitoring system. FreeStyle is available from pharmacies.


Leslie Versweyveld

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