I'm a lifelong diabetic
My role as the Services Director at Servium means that I travel around the UK, sometimes overseas, every week and therefore spend a lot of time away from home. A typical week means I’ll be visiting our customers with the Account Managers as well as meeting new and existing Services Ecosystem partners.
I’m also a type 1 diabetic and have been for over 30 years. Diabetes is a lifelong condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high due to your pancreas not producing any insulin or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter your body’s cells. Therefore, I need to monitor my blood and glucose levels on a regular basis and I have to inject myself with insulin between 4 – 8 times a day. Travel can at times make this difficult.
Historically, I have used a traditional blood glucose metering system that means I have to prick my fingers to get a blood sample and put that onto a test strip to get a reading. Since the meter is not exactly discreet, this process can be not only very cumbersome if you are on train, in a restaurant or out in public for example, but also extremely inconvenient. In addition, sharing the historic readings with my diabetic consultant as part of my quarterly check-ups can also be a headache. It requires an in-person meeting to simply download my data via a USB connection to a PC, which again is time-consuming and inconvenient.
Yet, this data is vital to help with the long-term control of my diabetes and to minimise possible (and drastic) complications like leg amputations and blindness.
Despite all this, I’ve learnt that diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from living the life you want. With careful management, you can be in control of your diabetes and ensure it doesn’t control you – allowing you to stay healthy, active and live life to the fullest.
Enter stage left - IoT Monitoring!
I’ve been lucky enough to participate in a trial for Flash Glucose Monitoring. It’s all based around IoT and is a great example of how the technology can be applied in a real-world scenario. The smart technology from Abbott Freestyle Libre provides a sensor which is easily and painlessly applied to the skin to provide a complete glucose picture throughout the day revealing:
- If your sugar levels are going up or down
- How your sugar levels change over time
- The past 8 hours so you can see what happens to your levels during sleep
Using the FreeStyle LibreLink smartphone app instead of a reader, I then simply hold my phone near the sensor which effortlessly scans and stores the data whilst also sharing it with my consultant for convenience and ease. No stress and much less finger pricking!
How does it work?
Flash Glucose Monitoring doesn’t actually measure your blood sugar levels. It measures the amount of sugar in the fluid under your skin, called interstitial fluid. Interstitial fluid sugar readings are a few minutes behind your blood sugar levels. This means you’ll still need to do finger-prick checks every now and then to be cautious, but the measurements can help you make decisions and adjustments about your treatment in a matter of seconds.
Key benefits of Flash Glucose Monitoring
Convenient and discreet
A quick one second scan, which works even through clothing, enabling you to effortlessly check your sugar levels. Anytime, anywhere.
Easy to see trends
Trend arrows make it easy to spot ups, downs and night-time lows and see how quickly your glucose levels are changing. The ability to scan as many times as you like allows you to better understand the impact of actions like food, exercise and insulin on glucose levels.
Better diabetes management
All the information is uploaded in real-time to the Cloud. The data is then readily available to my consultant and diabetes nurses, so that they can actively monitor my levels to spot patterns and identify areas to target and improve my overall control, resulting in a much healthier and stress-free lifestyle.
Allows Regular Monitoring
You can take as many glucose readings as you want whilst the sensor is being worn and due to the sensor storing the latest 8 hours of continuous data, you only need a minimum of 3 scans per day to obtain a full 24-hours of data. I have to say though I have found the scanning quite addictive!
This system has made a massive difference to my overall quality of life. Spotting trends and gaining real-time data to help me make more informed decisions to improve my overall diabetes control. Here’s to more technology changing lives and making a difference!
Note: Always consult your diabetes consultant before changing your monitoring methods.