New device aims to ease burden on families, children with diabetes

A life-changing device is now available for children.

Being diagnosed with diabetes at a young age is difficult, not only for the child but for the parents having to help them with pricking their finger.

“First I’m going to wipe my finger. Ding!” For Leah Shwedel, who has type one diabetes, testing her blood sugar is now routine.

Leah Shwedel (Provided to WINK News)

“Then you do this – and when the button has popped up, that means it’s ready. Don’t forget to add pressure! Pressure, pressure. It doesn’t really hurt,” she said.

But it wasn’t always this easy. Doctors diagnosed Leah with type one diabetes when she was five and her mom, Jessica Shwedel, says it was challenging.

“Every injection – we would scream together, ‘Diabetes – we’re going to kick your butt!’ Just because it was like an outlet for us,” Jessica said.

Jessica and Leah Shwedel (Provided to WINK News)

But now, there’s a new device that aims to ease the burden on families. The FDA just approved the 770-G System for children ages two through six.

It acts like a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump all in one, taking the number of injections down to zero and the number of daily finger pricks down as well.

“Now you don’t have to prick the finger six, 10, 14 times a day to get the blood glucose level. This machine is automatically giving you the blood glucose levels,” explained Dr. Sanjoy Dutta, vice president of research at JDRF.

Dutta says the device helps lighten the load for families and improve health outcomes.

“It’s making it automated so the burden on the individual, the child or his or her parents, is minimized. The risk of human error is minimized,” said Dutta.

Medtronic: MiniMed 770-G Hybrid Closed Loop System (Medtronic)

For the Shwedels, “It’s an incredible resource,” says Jessica. “And I hope soon there’ll be something that can help everybody,” said Leah.

It’s a welcome medical advancement.

Another new feature — the device is also Blue-Tooth compatible, allowing the latest information on blood sugar levels to show up on the parent’s and children’s smartphones.

The device was previously approved for adults and then worked its way down to children. That is typically done for safety reasons.

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
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