Noninvasive Blood Glucose Monitors

One part of controlling diabetes is to regularly monitor your own blood sugar levels. The results of self-blood-sugar-monitoring allow the person with diabetes and their health care providers to adjust their diabetes plan as indicated. Research has shown that tightly controlling blood sugar can prevent or slow down the development of problems that can happen from diabetes.

Current methods of self-blood-glucose-monitoring require a blood sample. This can be painful and difficult for people with diabetes, who may need to take blood samples up to four times or more per day. Therefore, scientists have been trying to find new ways for people with diabetes to measure their blood sugar without needing a skin puncture to get a blood sample (noninvasive method).

Before a noninvasive device is available to the public, the device must pass inspection by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is FDA's job to make sure that any medical device is safe, accurate, and reliable. This inspection is important because decisions, such as adjusting the amount of insulin to take, will be based on the results of the device. To date, no device has been approved and it will probably be at least several years before one is approved.

Some of the noninvasive ways being studied to measure glucose levels include

  • Shining infrared light through a person's forearm or finger.
  • Drawing glucose from the blood up through the skin using a low-level electrical current.
  • Measuring glucose levels in saliva or tears.

Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health