Often dubbed “the diabetes capital of the world”, a recent survey found that 26.1% of urban Indians over the age of 60 years were diagnosed with high blood sugar. And the problem only seems to be getting worse over the years. While diabetes mellitus occurs due to a number of factors such as genetics, poor lifestyle habits, age, and even race, it is up to both doctors and caregivers to help effectively keep blood sugar levels at bay.
Dr Sayonee Das, a General Medicine Resident from Kolkata has played both of these roles for quite some time, and holds extensive experience in caring for patients of diabetes. It is with her medical expertise and caregiving touch that she developed a revolutionary new method for the simple calculation of blood sugar levels.
“My mother has diabetes, and I have been administering her insulin for years. I found that giving a fixed amount of insulin with every meal regardless of other very important factors could result in negative consequences,” Dr Das says. “Too much insulin would result in weight gain, or mild to severe hypoglycemia.”
Not to mention, insulin is one of the most expensive medications in the world, which is not ideal for a country home to so many diabetics. On the other hand, too little insulin would result in continually raised blood sugar levels, dehydration, and fatigue. So how do we fix the issue of insulin dosage? Lucky for us, Dr Das created the Virtual Insulin Dose Estimator (VIDE), an app that helps patients and caregivers alike to correctly and easily estimate just how much insulin to take or administer.
It’s function is incredibly straightforward. You just have to open the app before a meal and enter three parameters: body weight, CBG levels, and what food you will be having. Based on the blood glucose levels and carbohydrate intake of the patient at that moment, the app will calculate how much insulin he or she should be taking.
“If you’re on your way to a party or wedding, VIDE will probably suggest you take more insulin to combat the inevitable rise in blood sugar. Whereas if you’re planning to eat light or even skip a meal, the application will suggest a smaller amount of insulin.”
VIDE even has a precautionary measure for patients who log CBG levels that are too low (below 100), and automatically alerts them not to take any insulin. This is vital for diabetics taking short-acting insulin, as they are at highest risk of experiencing hypoglycemia.
Dr Sayonee Das endured some unique challenges while devising the app, “Today, eating food from all over the world has become easier than ever. With just the touch of a button, one can enjoy a variety of international cuisines. This makes it even harder to predict the amount of carbohydrates a person will consume. However, we were able to collaborate with several dieticians and nutrition experts to help estimate carbs from a plethora of different foods. The patient need only enter what they plan to eat that day. It’s quite literally as simple as that!”
The Virtual Insulin Dose Estimator is crucial not just for diabetics to self-assess their own insulin needs, but for caregivers like Dr Sayonee Das to quickly and accurately estimate the insulin needs of their loved ones. This prevents unnecessary trips to the hospital, and can be a life-saver when it comes to avoiding the adverse effects of too much or too little insulin in the body. VIDE is incredibly important for nursing staff, who will need an accurate reading of insulin amidst fluctuating CBG levels. RMOs and trainees can also make use of the app without having to contact senior medical personnel.
Dr Das and her team’s creation is an absolute game changer in the field of medical testing, and will surely change the lives of diabetics across the country for the better.
Kindly Note: VIDE only estimates the required dose of short acting insulin and is never an alternative to the physician’s advice. In case of any discrepancy, VIDE requests patients to take their respective Physician’s advice.