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Ask the Expert: How does a diabetes device help manage blood sugar levels?

How does a diabetes device help manage blood sugar levels? (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A local man says a breakthrough device has made a huge difference in his life, when it comes to managing diabetes.

This device can help those with type two diabetes who need insulin, but are hoping to avoid painful injections every day.

The Diabetes Team at St. Elizabeth Healthcare says it's been on the market for a while, but new research is now showing that it might have incredible benefits that could add years to your life.

“I'd like to get the word out to other people,” said Gary Volker, who wants to get the word out what's called the “V-Go.”

“So the V-Go is an insulin delivery device that's designed to give patients with type two diabetes that infuses all the time,” said Dr. Brad Eilerman of St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Unlike a diabetes pump, the V-Go works with no electronics, no batteries, no infusion sets or programming. It's a lightweight pack you fill with insulin every day, and wear for 24 hours.

The idea behind the device is to give you and your diabetes team one more tool to help you better manage your diabetes.

Volker showed how he fills it with insulin and sticks it underneath his arm. A tiny needle, one that he says he doesn’t feel, allows the V-Go to give him a steady dose of insulin.

He can push a button on it if he needs a little bit more after eating.

“It delivers two units of insulin with every press,” said Dr. Eilerman.

“Putting this thing on is simple and then when you push a button you say: Is there a needle in me? [laughs],” said Volker.

Without the V-Go, Volker would need multiple injections of insulin a day.

“Really, it's a good option for anybody that has that requirement for multiple insulin shots,” said Dr. Brad Eilerman.

Rather than just giving a person good averages of high and low blood sugars, Dr. Eilerman says that we want to keep it even all the time.

Dr. Eilerman says long-term research on keeping blood sugars within normal levels this way is still in the works.

“There have been some short-term studies, particularly in the inpatient area, where we showed that when we are able to maintain even blood glucoses people do better in regard to mortality and cardiovascular disease so we think that will extend to the long-term,” said Dr. Eilerman.

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