Apple Watch saved his life, says CNET filmmaker for diabetics

CNET Senior video producer and diabetic Justin Eastzer says the combination of a continuous glucose monitor (GCM) and his Apple Watch saved his life.

The CGM detected dangerously low blood sugar and the Apple Watch woke him up with an alarm, just in time …

Apple Watch saved the filmmaker’s life

Eastzer describes what happened.

I have type 1 diabetes and wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that measures my blood sugar level. If my blood sugar drops dangerously, I may pass out or fall into a diabetic coma. Luckily, my CGM connects to my watch and sends notifications before it’s too late. This feature saved my life a few months ago.

I was woken up by the dangerously low blood sugar warning on my Apple Watch. I ran to the fridge, grabbed some orange juice, drank it, and passed out.

I woke up a few minutes later because my blood sugar was back to normal. It was one of the scariest moments of my life, and thanks to Apple Watch alerts, I was able to fix my low blood sugar problem before it was too late.

Unlike conventional blood glucose meters, which rely on the user to take blood samples at regular intervals, the CGM attaches to the skin and stays in place to take continuous readings. This data is sent to the companion app on your smartphone or smartwatch and can be triggered to sound an alarm if the reading is too high or too low.

Apple is working on built-in monitoring

Currently, CGM relies on a separate device, but one of the most persistent reports from Apple Watch is that Apple is working on a way to integrate this feature into the watch itself.

In particular, the company is said to be working on a way to do this in a non-invasive manner – that is, without having to prick the skin. This has been described as the Holy Grail for diabetics.

Apparently, Apple has been working on it since 2012. From the 2017 report:

This initiative was first invented by Steve Jobs, and Apple has been working on it for five years. Jobs imagined the solution to be integrated into a wearable device such as the Apple Watch […]

The report, citing three people familiar with the case, explains that Apple hired a “small team” of biomedical engineers to work on the initiative. The team is said to be based in an unmarked, undefined office in Palo Alto, California.

As part of this initiative, Apple is working on the development of sensors that can continuously monitor blood sugar levels to better treat diabetes. While the specific timeline information is unclear, the company is reportedly far enough in its testing to do feasibility testing.

If you’re wondering why a decade later we still haven’t seen it on the market, it’s because these things are hard – really hard.

Accurate glucose level detection [non-invasively] was such a challenge that one of the leading experts in the field, John L. Smith, described it as “the most difficult technical challenge I have encountered in my career.”

It would cost the company “several hundred million or even a billion dollars to be successful,” DexCom president Terrance Gregg had previously told Reuters.

Report in Nature last year, he suggested a potential alternative approach. This would require a separate product, but it would be a battery-less transceiver that could be left permanently on the skin, while the Apple Watch provides wireless power. We’ve collected concept images of what this might look like on a watch.

There have been many reports of someone’s Apple Watch saving his life in a variety of situations. These include detection of aFib through fall emergency alerts to allowing trapped people to use Siri to summon emergency services.

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