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Soon, manage diabetes with your phone

A new study by University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers has indicated that an interactive computer software program appears to be effective in helping patients manage their Type 2 diabetes using their mobile phones.

health and fitness Updated: Aug 02, 2011 10:09 IST

A new study by University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers has indicated that an interactive computer software program appears to be effective in helping patients manage their Type 2 diabetes using their mobile phones.

The study, one of the first to scientifically examine mobile health technology, found that a key measure of blood sugar control – the amount of hemoglobin A1c in a person''s blood – was lowered by an average of 1.9 percent over a period of one year in patients using the mobile health software. The findings support the further exploration of mobile health approaches to manage many chronic conditions, including diabetes.

“These results are very encouraging,” said Charlene C. Quinn, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the principal investigator.

“The 1.9 percent decrease in A1c that we saw in this research is significant. Previous randomized clinical trials have suggested that just a 1 percent decrease in A1c will prevent complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure,” added C. Quinn.

The study indicates that using mobile phones, the Internet and other mobile communications technology to keep patients healthy may have broad applications to help patients and their physicians manage many health conditions.

“Mobile health has the potential to help patients better self-manage any chronic disease, not just diabetes,” explained Quinn.

People with Type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin to convert sugar into energy or their cells ignore the insulin. A key measure of blood sugar control is the amount of hemoglobin A1c in a person''s blood. A1c is a molecule in red blood cells that binds itself to blood sugar. The higher the level of sugar in the blood, the higher the level of A1c.

The study is detailed in the journal Diabetes Care.