Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Talking sugar level monitor is a great feature for the visually impaired

Vision loss is a painful reality for so many diabetics. A talking blood sugar monitor could mean a lot of independence for many who have lost their sight.

HealthFirst reporter Leslie LoBue explains that it's smaller in size and drastically smaller in price.
Any diabetic will tell you - monitoring blood sugar closely is key to managing the disease. So this is an essential piece of equipment.

On top of his many volunteer duties at the Visually Impaired Center, in Flint, Jim McKee is a guinea pig of sorts, trying out the latest devices, like the talking blood sugar monitor.

"By telling you exactly what your sugar levels are, you know, you know if you are having a sugar problem or if you are having some other difficulty. And without being able to tell this, bad things could happen."

This much smaller monitor is not only more convenient, it only costs $30. The next alternative comes in at almost $500.

So, how does this cost-effective version compare to the deluxe model? "I've experimented with the cheaper model and I really prefer it, because it's easier to use, it's a lot smaller," McKee said.
Insurance covers the more expensive model, but as of yet, the new model is not covered. The low cost makes it possible for most people to afford it on their won, without the help of insurance.

Having a talking monitor, no matter what the dollar value, offers benefits that are truly priceless.
"A lot of people don't understand how important this is, but that's the key to diabetes control. If their blood sugars are well-controlled, then they might keep some of the vision that they still have," said Lisa Marshall, a nurse and certified diabetes educator.

Jim says having a talking monitor offers so much independence, it's easier to keep track of blood sugar and manage his diabetes.

The Visually Impaired Center is located across the street from Deaf and Blind School and right next door to HealthAccess, in Flint.


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