How Predictive Models of AI & Machine Learning Can Transform Diabetes Care

A look at the role artificial intelligence and machine learning can play in improving diabetes management.

Ajay Panawar, Sr. Engineering Manager

June 15, 2022

7 Min Read
Image courtesy of Michael Burrell / Alamy Stock Photo


Diabetes could be a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Your main source of energy is blood sugar, which comes from the food you eat. Insulin: a hormone produced by the pancreas, aids glucose absorption into cells to be used as energy. Sporadically your body doesn't produce any insulin or enough, or maybe it doesn't use it properly. Glucose remains in your circulation and doesn’t reach your cells as a result. Diabetes can cause heart conditions, stroke, and even the necessity to rid of a limb.

Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar, or glucose, levels are too high. Your pancreas doesn’t produce insulin if you have got type 1 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that aids glucose absorption into cells for energy production. An excessive amount of glucose remains in your blood without insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can cause serious problems along with your heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, gums, and teeth.

Whether you have got type 1 or type 2 diabetes, making the proper food choices is important to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. You have a higher risk of heart disease if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Coronary heart disease (CHD), heart condition, and diabetic cardiomyopathy are all risks of diabetic heart disease.

Type 1 diabetes:

The most common reason for type 1 diabetes happens to be an autoimmune reaction within which the body attacks itself by mistake. In doing this, the pancreatic cells (also called beta cells) that make insulin get damaged. Type 1 diabetes is extremely dangerous because the process aforementioned can take months or years before the disease is detected as symptoms appear very rarely. Genes can play a crucial role in the development of this disease. If any of your parents have type 1 diabetes, then you’re possible to develop it yourself. However, many people won't even have to go through type 1 diabetes even if they do possess the genes.

Type 2 diabetes:

Insulin resistance is type 2 diabetes, in this condition your cells do not respond to insulin the way they ought to. As a result, your body requires extra insulin to help glucose absorption into your cells. To encourage cells to retort, your body produces more insulin initially. However, over time, your body is unable to supply enough insulin, causing your glucose levels to rise. It can occur at any age, but it’s most typical in children and teenagers. Diabetes is a disease that happens when your blood sugar, also called glucose, is simply too high. 

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) enables continuous and painless remote monitoring of a patient's symptoms and biomarkers. Furthermore, patient engagement in diabetes care is boosted by social media and online groups. In the case of diabetes, technological advancements have aided in resource optimization.

Managing Diabetes:

Diabetes is a disease that can be lived with easily if managed well. It has to be managed mostly by you with the assistance and support from your loved ones and health care team. It is no less than a challenge, but any steps taken towards improving your health are worthwhile. You should most likely monitor the subsequent and take steps accordingly.

  • Your weight

  • Any other health conditions you have got

  • Your lifestyle and tastes, and

  • Your goals

What major problems can diabetes cause?

High glucose levels might harm your eyes' blood vessels and lenses. This may create major diabetic eye problems which will impair your eyesight and even end in blindness. Individuals with diabetes even have a frequent challenge: hypoglycemia management. It’s a condition that develops when glucose levels fall below the needed level for humans to function sustainably. Additionally, other adverse events may well be caused by diabetes if not managed properly such as coronary failure, stroke, kidneys, etc.

Artificial intelligence for Diabetic patient care:

Artificial intelligence is being utilized to detect patterns in behavior that result in high or low blood glucose levels in diabetic individuals. Continuous glucose monitors, which are commonly used by diabetics, acquire a large amount of data that has hitherto been underutilized. Scientists have developed an AI system that will detect hypoglycemia or low glucose through data collected via CGM, which is employed for detecting low glucose levels using a non-invasive wearable sensor. CGM is a device with AI being used to monitor diabetes. The amount of glucose in the fluid inside your body is measured by this CGM (continuous glucose monitoring). Using tiny sensors, many gadgets capture information in various ways. In certain circumstances, the sensor is glued to the back of your arm or is implanted under the skin of your belly rapidly and painlessly. The information is then sent to a wireless-pager-like monitor that you may clip on your belt through a transmitter on the sensor.

Ascension Diabetes Care, for example, is a food app that helps diabetics build tailored diet programs. Automated retinal screening, clinical decision support, predictive population risk stratification, and patient self-management tools are all areas where artificial intelligence (AI) is widely used in diabetes treatment. Glucose monitoring was previously done using a needle prick test or a capillary blood glucose test. Doctors may now check blood sugar levels using a few heartbeats of raw ECG signals acquired by wearable sensors thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).

AI introduces a paradigm shift in diabetes care from conventional management strategies to building targeted data-driven precision care. AI is already being used to predict diabetes risk using genetic data, to diagnose diabetes using EHR (Electronic Health Record) data, to predict the danger of sequelae including nephropathy and retinopathy, and to diagnose diabetic retinopathy.


Predictive Models in Transformation of Diabetes Care:

Artificial intelligence is an interdisciplinary concept supported by the foundations of engineering, control theory, scientific theory, neuropsychology, philosophy, and linguistics. Machine learning principles are utilized to get algorithms to support predictive models for the danger of diabetes and its complications.

Management is very important for a disease like diabetes. Fortunately, the world is at a point where managing diabetes is similarly easier than in ancient times due to technology. In January 2020, Tandem Diabetes Care had launched its t:slim X2 insulin pump which had controlled IQ technology and even helped to pump insulin which regulated the insulin levels with less effort from the user.

Next, we have non-invasive glucose monitoring which requires a small needle under the skin of the patient. However, following the ultimate aim which is to completely mitigate having to stick a needle under your skin; many products are trying to achieve this goal. SugarBEAT CGM measures blood sugar through a sticky patch placed on the skin. However, it isn't fully available in the US. There happens to be another device that measures sugar through chemical changes when breath changes. Right now actual closed-loop systems that deliver both insulin and glucagon are in development.

Moreover, IDX-DR is an FDA-approved device for detecting diabetic retinopathy. If the images show more than mild diabetic retinopathy, this software determines whether the patient should be referred to an eye professional, or if the patient should be rescreened in a year if the images show no more than mild diabetic retinopathy. Machine learning models are bridging the gap to increase cure in so many ways. When there was no AI, people used to be so scared regarding the cure. However, now that AI has made it possible to provide a cure along with current clinical trials, people are becoming relaxed and are putting their trust in the hands of AI. There is no doubt that it’s a difficult disease, but AI has given patients the respective hope that they deserve.

Also, use of wearable technology such as a Fitbit or Samsung Health to track our steps, sleep patterns, and calories. These devices have the potential to revolutionize how we diagnose diabetes. Food apps such as Ascensia Diabetes Care have been designed to create personalized diet plans specifically for diabetics. In the app, users can create personalized food choices to set up a plan that suits them rather than being told what they need to eat.

In the context of healthcare, AI can be extremely beneficial in a variety of ways. However, there are several issues about how we control AI, particularly because AI is so reliant on collecting vast amounts of data to learn. When you think about it, there are data privacy and cybersecurity concerns, as well as ethical and safety concerns.






About the Author(s)

Ajay Panawar

Sr. Engineering Manager, Medtronic

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