Tag Archives: diabetes technology

What Diabetes Technology Can’t Replace

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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!

That’s indisputable.

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.

My Dream Improvement to Current Diabetes Technology

This needs a serious upgrade! Courtesy of Suat Eman

 

This month’s DSMA Blog Carnival prompt is as follows:

Over the years diabetes technology has come a very long way from the days when syringes were boiled and sharpened, and sugar was checked using droplets of urine and fizzy tablets in test tubes. Today we can choose from an array of blood sugar meters, insulin pumps, carb counting apps, data uploading programs – technology is woven into our diabetes lives. But although technology has come a long way there is always room for improvement, right? So this month give us your complaints, your ideas and your technological wishes and tell us:

What improvements or adjustments would you make to current [diabetes] technology?

My weakness is dealing with technology.  I love what it does for me but hate how it complicates things for me.  I’m more into words and ideas than I am stuff so as nifty as technology is, I get lost in it.  I can’t even work a dvd player without hard concentration.  It’s not that I’m dumb, it’s that I don’t have motivation to learn these things.  Someone nearby always knows for me anyway :)

Therefore this is what I would like:

I would like a nifty little watch that looks like this and tells me what my glucose is at all times including up and down arrows to show trending, like the CGM does.  I would like it to be 99.9% accurate, 99.9% of the time.  It would also, of course, show me the time.

This one thing would take away the need for a meter and the CGM.  I wouldn’t have to spend money on those darn test strips, the only expense would be the watch and batteries.  I would love a device that functioned like the CGM receiver to come with this watch so that parents or other caretakers can receive alarm notices and all data.  The watch can be connected to the computer to upload the blood sugar information so people don’t have to log numbers. 

I also want this gadget to help pump me up through the day.  If I’m low I want it to send my cell phone a text that says, “Get out your glucose tabs!  Everything is going to be ok”.  When I’m high I want a text saying, “oops, lol”  or “you’ll get it next time” or “take a deep breathe”.  When my blood sugar is on target without any up or down arrows I want a text that says “Yes!  Keep up the great work!”  If I’m on target and trending upward I want a text that says “Whoa, what’s going on here?”  If I’m trending downward I want a text that says “Lookout!”

I want the ability to turn off those texts at any time.  They’d probably get annoying after the first day…

That’s my dream thing aside from a cure and aside from the closed loop system that we’re all hoping might work as good as intended…

Oh and if I couldn’t have that I suppose I’d settle for reusable test strips.  At least then I’d have a bigger bank account with which to buy more diabetes technology!

What improvements or adjustments would you make to current diabetes technology?

The CGMS. Do you have better diabetes management with one?

Photo courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn
Photo courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn

 

I don’t have a CGMS.  I tried to get one during my twin pregnancy last year because the doubled amount of pregnancy hormones really challenged my blood sugars and of course I wanted great blood sugars while pregnant.  My doctors didn’t support my wanting one though (maybe because my A1c at the time of conception was a 4.6%?).  Three doctors all told me to relax on my diabetes management.  I told them to relax. 

Anyway, I mostly wanted one to catch late night lows and highs that I couldn’t catch during the day when I was awake.  Since I didn’t get one I just tested every hour during the day and this worked well.  I tested every 2 hours during the night and this also worked well (I had to make a trip to the bathroom every 2 hours anyway). 

My question to everyone is, does the CGMS help your blood sugar average?  Does it help you maintain your blood sugars on a more even keel?  Has it helped you lower your A1c?

Before I fight for a CGMS again, I want to know you all really like your CGMS.  I already know how to get a great A1c without a pump and without a CGMS but, maybe there is something you know that I don’t?  (Or maybe I’m doing this the hard way?)

I’m sure there is something you know that I don’t.  This is why I’m asking-no, begging you to share your thoughts on this matter.  I know there are others out there wondering the same thing.  After all, if it is “proven” that the pump and CGMS help lower an A1c than part of me can’t help but want to know what real people say (as opposed to studies).   

One of my main questions is, does having a CGMS help you avoid more swinging glucose numbers?  For example does it help you not have such high highs or low lows?  This, to me, seems like a great help.  Luckily, I feel lows and highs early but, let’s face it, sometimes we’re distracted with life and maybe a beep here or there would save the day?

So what do I stand to gain with a CGMS?  I guess that is what I really want to know :)

Anxiously awaiting your responses!

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