The most common methods for glucose self-testing involve monitoring glucose levels in blood. These conventional measurements are not suitable for preventing hypoglycemia during exercise. The underlying process relies on invasive and inconvenient blood sampling, which can cause skin irritation with perspiration containing electrolytes and proteins. In addition, blood testing requires that diabetics keep testing equipment such as lancets, alcohol, and a glucometer with them during exercise.
A new paper-based sensor patch allows diabetics to effectively measure glucose levels during exercise. The wearable and disposable patch allows for non-invasive monitoring of glucose in human sweat. The single-use biosensor integrates a vertically stacked, paper-based, glucose/ oxygen enzymatic fuel cell into a standard BAND-AID® adhesive patch.
The device attaches directly to the skin and wicks sweat to a reservoir where chemical energy is converted to electrical energy. It monitors glucose without external power and sophisticated readout instruments.
Sweat-based glucose sensing is attractive for managing exercise-induced hypo-glycemia because the measurement is performed during or immediately after exercise when there is enough sweat to obtain an adequate sample. This alleviates shortcomings of conventional noninvasive sweat sensors that can be hampered by not being able to collect enough sweat for analysis, sample evaporation, and the relatively long time required for sample collection.