TORONTO – The 2.5 million Canadians with diabetes may be able to track their sugar levels in real-time due to a partnership between Google and the Swiss pharmaceutical company, Novartis.
The two companies are hoping to release a smart contact lens that would measure a person’s sugar levels through their tears and present that information to them in real-time.
“If they can show that levels of sugar in the tears are correlated to the levels of sugar in the blood and can measure that accurately, people could have a real-time measure of their sugar,” Global News medical contributor Dr. Samir Gupta said. “Which I think would actually empower people to better control their sugar and monitor their diet.”
The prototype, which could take up to five years to reach consumers, is one of several being designed that aim to make glucose monitoring easier for diabetics.
“We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs,” Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said in a press release. “This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye.”
Dr. Samir Gupta has five signs that could be indicative of high sugar levels:
*Note: None of these symptoms in isolation are indicative of diabetes but in combination they can be indicative of high sugar levels.
1. Increased urination
Gupta said people may notice they are urinating more and may even wake up while sleeping to go to the washroom.
“As blood sugar levels get to a certain point, the kidney actually has trouble managing that sugar and a little bit spills over into the urine,” Gupta said.
2. Increased thirst
This is a result of increased urination. You’re losing more fluid in the urine so you may constantly feel thirsty.
3. Weight loss
Weight loss can also be a result of increased fluid loss through urination.
4. Blurry vision
Gupta said high sugar levels can sometimes lead to temporary blurred vision.
“Blurry vision is often seen with labile or very variable sugar levels because the lens of the eye can actually change shape with blood sugar level changes.”
5. Risk factors
Common risk factors like a family history of diabetes, obesity (particularly abdominal obesity), and dietary factors can also increase chances of developing diabetes.
Gupta suggests that people with risk factors consult their doctor to see if they need to be screened for diabetes.
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