Sunday, May 17, 2009

Diabetic spit test?

There have been all kinds of headlines on diabetes lately! Here's a new one:

Spit test shows promise in diagnosing, monitoring diabetes

I know I've heard that diabetics have more sugar in their saliva whenever their blood sugar is high, which is why diabetics also have more problems with cavities. Or so I've been told — but it would make sense, because I had the most cavities right after I was diagnosed.

It'll be interesting to see whether they can make a blood sugar test using saliva instead of blood — but will it be as accurate and as convenient as blood glucose meters? Don't forget, home testing meters are tiny now — the Freestyle Flash, which I used up until very recently, is smaller than the mini mouse I use with my laptop. Will they be able to make a saliva test that small and portable?

The other question is whether the saliva test will measure current blood sugar. We don't want to go back into the dark ages of not knowing what our current blood sugar is, just what it was ten minutes or an hour or several hours ago. Diabetics used to have to test the sugar content in their urine, but of course that only told you what your blood sugar averaged since you last went to the bathroom — not a very good way of testing if you want to maintain any decent level of control.

Of course, I don't really see anything wrong with finger sticks. They rarely hurt, and they are pretty fast, making it easy to do wherever you are — if you can just remember to pull the meter out in the first place. And while I appreciate the need for continued research, I also personally think there is no reason to fix a system that is not really broken.

So I'm a little skeptical about how useful saliva testing will be — but on the flipside, I'm also pretty interested to see what they find out!

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