Transforming the treatment of diabetes

Technology may help to provide more supportive, efficient, and effective care for diabetes, a leading contributor to heart disease.

About one of every 11 adults in this country has diabetes — a chronic, costly condition that's closely connected to heart disease. Lifestyle changes that encourage eating healthy foods, exercising, and losing weight are the cornerstone of managing both problems. But making those changes can often feel overwhelming and frustrating, especially for people with diabetes. They also need to keep tabs on their blood sugar levels, which are influenced by what and when they eat and exercise.

And getting effective support for managing diabetes with lifestyle changes isn't easy. "The current system for managing diabetes is broken," says Dr. Osama Hamdy, medical director of the Obesity Clinical Program at Harvard-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center. For starters, there aren't nearly enough endocrinologists for the millions of people with diabetes in this country. Appointments with these specialists are often too short and too infrequent for people to make meaningful progress, he explains.

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