Doctor's Responses Archive

Viewer Question:
Is there a wrist device for diabetics to test their blood sugar?

Doctor's Response:
Patients with diabetes may soon be wearing a monitoring device on their wrist which checks glucose levels and raises an alarm when levels are too high or low. One such device is called GlucoWatch. It is worn on the wrist and measures blood sugar levels through the skin.

Diabetes management requires regular monitoring of the blood glucose to see if the treatment is working. The testing now involves pricking the finger with a needle or lancet, which is painful and provides only periodic measurements.

The wrist monitor provides a painless method that does not require drawing blood. It compares each new measurement with the previous measurement to determine if blood sugar is rising or falling. This is important in that it makes continuous measurements and compares them back to previous measurements. It essentially tracks and charts the blood glucose.

As of now (November, 1999) GlucoWatch has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and so is not currently available to patients in the U.S. If approved by the FDA, the device could be on the market as early as April 2000.

Thank you for your question.

(Reference: Journal of the American Medical Association 1999;282:1839-1844.)


Last Editorial Review: 7/8/2002




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