More Data, Less Pain

Managing diabetes is all about data. What's your glucose reading? Is it on the way up or down? How did exercise affect the reading? Food? Insulin? Unfortunately, gathering that information has traditionally meant finger pricks and more finger pricks; sometimes even eight a day aren't enough.

Now, say hello to a way to get significantly more data—a reading every 60 s—with dramatically less misery. It's the FreeStyle Navigator Continuous Glucose Monitor from Abbott Diabetes Care.

The key to the FreeStyle Navigator is a hair-like monofilament with an electrochemical sensor at the tip. A spring-loaded device inserts the disposable sensor just under the skin of your upper arm or abdomen, where it continuously monitors interstitial fluid glucose levels for up to three days. A small wireless transmitter worn over the sensor sends the readings via RF to a pager-sized meter that you can wear on a belt, carry in a backpack or purse, or place on a night table up to 10 ft. away. The meter displays the results, and an arrow indicates whether glucose is on the rise, falling, or holding steady. You also can program-in thresholds at which the Navigator will sound an alarm for hypo- or hyperglycemia. The monitor does have to be calibrated with finger-stick tests, but only one each at hours 1, 3, and 24 of the first day—a small tradeoff for the pain-free readings that continuously follow.

Don't run out to your doctor for a prescription quite yet, however. The FreeStyle Navigator is still under FDA review for use by adults and children and is awaiting approval.

Contact Heidi Calkins, Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL; 847-938-8332,,