If successful diabetes management is based upon a multitude of decisions we make during the day, why is technology often regarded as the number one asset in our diabetes management arsenal?
It can’t possibly be. Take some important daily decisions that all impact diabetes:
-what to eat
-when to eat
-how much to eat
-how much insulin to give
-when to give insulin
-when to exercise
-what type of exercise to do
-how much to exercise
-when to test blood sugar
-how often to test blood sugar
And on and on!
Now basic technology like a meter is huge. But, only if we choose to use it. And a pump, for many of us, makes it easier to eat and deliver insulin as needed and to do a wide variety of exercises, as long as we choose to use it properly. A CGM gives us information about trends and helps us catch highs and lows before they get too high or low. Not to mention it can help save our lives by alerting us to dramatic blood sugar levels.
So technology is awesome!
It would seem that those using all of this technology would always have better diabetes management than those who only use a meter and syringes, right? And yet, in my personal experience, I’ve met many people who use a meter and syringes and do very well and people who use all the technology available and don’t do very well.
There are other important variables that always need to be considered. So when a person is struggling with their diabetes management, often times more questions need to be asked than what is often asked. Most likely, a person who can do well with a pump, can do well without one. And CGM’s are most dramatically beneficial to those who can’t feel their lows or have young children with diabetes.
My cautioning is really about avoiding the conclusion that, “If I had a pump, my diabetes would be controlled” or “I probably just need a CGM to have controlled blood sugars” without considering other factors. This isn’t to say these tools won’t dramatically help one’s management. There is no guarantee and the decisions a person takes throughout the day is a better indicator of how a person will do with diabetes technology.
So if you’re struggling with your diabetes management, assess the root of your individual struggle. Some people’s issues are best addressed with technology, but many issues are addressed outside of technology and skipping this facet of diabetes management can prove extremely frustrating and detrimental.
I know because I’ve been there, done that. Address your personal needs and let your blood sugars be your guide. What technology can’t begin to replace is you and your knowledgeable decisions, which require knowledge about your diabetes. Make sure your bases are covered before relying on gadgets.