(BPT) - Diabetes is a complex disease to manage, and it can be extremely challenging for people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar levels within an ideal target range. While reducing high blood sugar – or hyperglycemia – is important since high blood sugar can lead to long-term complications like cardiovascular disease and nerve damage, reducing low blood sugar – or hypoglycemia – can be a matter of life or death.

Low blood sugar is a condition that can cause confusion, disorientation and loss of consciousness; in the worst cases it can result in coma or death. The average person with type 1 diabetes has two lows a week that they’re aware of – and untold ones they’re not – with more than half experiencing lows at least once a night.[1]

Phyllis Kaplan of Boston has had type 1 diabetes for most of her life and has first-hand experience with hypoglycemia. “I have a history of severe lows at night, when it’s most challenging to manage my glucose levels,” Kaplan says. “It was very scary thinking that I was lucky to wake up.”

“Low blood sugar at night is of particular concern, as that is when up to 75 percent of severe hypoglycemia occurs and patients are unlikely to be aware of symptoms while they are asleep,” says Dr. Satish Garg of the University of Colorado Denver, Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

SmartGuard™ technology, the latest advancement developed by Medtronic, is helping to combat this problem and reduce lows*. Available in the Medtronic MiniMed insulin pump systems with continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), SmartGuard technology is the only feature available in the U.S. that takes action against lows*.  Continued delivery of insulin, which is designed to lower blood sugar levels, when the person with diabetes is already trending low could lead to severe hypoglycemia. SmartGuard technology is designed to pause insulin delivery if the user’s glucose levels go below a pre-set limit and isn’t responding to the system’s alarms.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that SmartGuard technology not only reduces the number of low* events per week by a third but also shortens the length/intensity of those events at night by 37.5 percent without increasing A1C** (a measure of average blood sugar levels over three months).[2]

“The ability to automate the suspension of insulin is an important feature, particularly at night, as prolonged hypoglycemia could be life-threatening,” Dr. Garg says.

Kaplan has been using an insulin pump – an externally-worn, computerized device about the size of a deck of cards that continuously delivers small, precise amounts of insulin – for 16 years and started using a MiniMed insulin pump with SmartGuard technology two years ago.  She says SmartGuard technology has had a major impact on her diabetes management.

“My MiniMed insulin pump with SmartGuard technology has offered me flexibility and confidence in managing my diabetes so I can just live my life,” Kaplan says. “Now I have greater peace of mind.”

In August 2016, Medtronic introduced in the U.S. one of its most advanced insulin pump systems, the MiniMed® 630G system, featuring SmartGuard technology coupled with an enhanced glucose sensor. The features of this insulin pump are based on feedback from more than 1,000 people with diabetes, and include a new, user-friendly pump design that is waterproof***, has the ability to administer extra doses (boluses) of insulin remotely, and features a high-definition, full-color screen that supports easy navigation and enables increased customization with more intuitive menus.

To learn more about the MiniMed 630G system and insulin pump therapy, visit http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/products/minimed-630g-insulin-pump-system.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: MiniMed 630G system requires a prescription and should only be used under direction of a qualified healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of the system. Please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/isi for detailed safety information including warnings for automatic Suspend on Low feature.

[1] Seaquist ER, Anderson J, Childs B, Cryer P, Dagogo-Jack S, Fish L, Heller SR, Rodriguez H, Rosenzweig J, Vigersky R. Hypoglycemia and diabetes: a report of a workgroup of the American Diabetes Association and the Endocrine Society. Diabetes Care. 2013 May;36(5):1384-95.

[2] Bergenstal RM, Klonoff DC, Garg SK, et al. Threshold-based insulin-pump interruption for reduction of hypoglycemia. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(3):224–232.

*Measured as low sensor glucose events =65 mg/dL.

**Based upon limited sample size and duration of ASPIRE In-Home study.

***The pump is protected against the effects of continuous immersion in up to 12 feet (3.6 meters) of water for up to 24 hours at a time at the time of manufacture. This is classified as IPX8 rating.