Going Low at Night?

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The Sleep Sentry Monitor, a battery-powered device worn like a wristwatch and used to detect nighttime low blood glucose, was introduced by Teledyne Avionics more than 20 years ago. Teledyne Avionics then sold the device to Eric Orzeck, MD, in 1983, and it has been largely unavailable since the early 1990s.

Now it’s expected to be back on the market later in 2002, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reviews its redesign and new manufacturing facility.

“We’re reintroducing it because there is still a serious void in the treatment area of hypoglycemia,” Marv Meier, president and CEO of Sleep Sentry, told Diabetes Health. “I know the GlucoWatch has tried to fill that void, but there is a very decided difference” between the products. The GlucoWatch, for example, may not provide readings if the user perspires. The Sleep Sentry, on the other hand, senses low blood glucose indirectly by detecting perspiration or a drop in skin temperature. Once a symptom is detected, an alarm goes off, awakening the sleeper, who can then test his or her blood glucose and take action if needed to correct the low.

For those who have hypoglycemia unawareness or who lack response mechanisms such as sweating or a change in skin temperature, the Sleep Sentry may not be useful, according to the Diabetes Mall. In addition, it may not be helpful for sleep-active children with diabetes because their activity during sleep can set off false alarms.

However, the device could be ideal for those with severe or frequent nighttime lows, people with diabetes who live alone and those who travel frequently.

The Sleep Sentry is usually worn strapped to the wrist with a wristband, but it can be used on the ankle as well.

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