Faster – Better – Stronger … Technology
There’re more and more blood glucose meter, cgm and fgm systems like the Freestyle Libre, Dexcom, Eversense or Enlite but there are also some solutions from startups or the diabetes community – it’s not unusual to lose track of all the gadgets. Although, I’m constantly testing and looking for new technologies, which is very hard to figure out what really fits to my needs and lifestyle. In addition, not everything is cheap or it’s hard to convince the health insurance to cover it. After you made your decision it’s not clear that the new diabetes system fits into your everyday life.
What is your reason for something new?
In the last three years we saw a lot of movement in the diabetes market. New Continuous Glucose Monitoring systems (CGM) and Artificial Pancreas (AP) projects appeared. Within this time, my sugar was not always in range and my bad conscience bothered me more often. Particularly, in bad circumstances referring to your life the disease is always a burden on top. The hope that ‘new‘ is always better and a CGM or another innovation will erase all problems comes fast to your mind.
Nevertheless, I can already tell you – this will happen rarely. ‘New‘ also means you have to deal with that new technology intensively and your disease, attend to diabetes classes and learn. If you are open for that – awesome. If not, your personal load will increase. Maybe you have other issues with your family, relationship, job or a secondary disease. Then ‘new’ means uncertainty, your stress will increase and can have a negative impact on your diabetes. A vicious circle…
Otherwise, there can be simple reasons too. A defect glucose meter, an ad informs you about new features, you have issues with the plaster, wounded fingertips or you just want to improve your health care and want to test something new. If everything is working my advice is “never change your running system”.
My diabetes setup
At the moment my usual setting consists of the Freestyle Libre together with an iPhone 8 and the Libre App, the Accu Chek Insight Pump and Accu Chek Guide Meter. With this I can manage my everyday life perfectly. However, there are these days where nothing works. I’m stressed, do sport accidentally or have a hypo at night. In those cases, my everyday life setting is not enough. I need more control. Therfore, I bought the Ambrosia System Blucon. A solution that I can attach on to the Freestyle Libre which reads out every five minutes and sends my glucose level via Bluetooth to my iPhone 8 and from there to my Apple Watch. Thus, I have a better overview and even alarms. For example, I can wear only the Libre throughout the day and scan with my phone. Before I go to bed I attach the Blucon and transform my FGM into a CGM to get an alarm on my phone before falling into a hypo. Another option is to wear it for sport events to have the glucose values at your watch while running. But keep in mind that the blucon adapter is not sticking to the Freestyle Libre. You need a hack. I designed a silicon ring that keeps both together. See my tutorial on how to build your own holder.
To analyze my data and find the mistakes in my diabetes therapy I use the Libre App, DiaSend or sometimes SmartPix. If I can’t find the “bug” I contact my doctor or ask the diabetes online community. For all changes I do have a rule. I only change one variable. Otherwise I don’t know what the mistake was.
If my sugar is always in range, sometimes I switch back to the test-stripes. This helps me to listen to the signals of my body and that makes me a little bit more independent of technologies. It is also a break from the plaster and glue that destroys my skin. Being free from plastic is a good feeling too. Especially, in summer. In general, I never want to miss a CGM again.
Another big advantage of this setup is the easy integration into Nightscout and other apps from the community. As a passionate maker, designer and thinkerer I love to work on new ideas and solutions which could integrate the disease into my everyday life.
What is the problem that I want to solve?
Everyone needs to find his own solution. I started with a blood glucose meter and after that I tried the Dexcom G4, G5 and the Eversense Sensor. I was happy with it, but now I feel like I have more flexibility. Maybe that will change with the new Dexcom G6. As I said, a new system always means effort, time and money. If the need is high or the will is big enough you could buy one or two sensors by yourself to test if it fits to your lifestyle. There are manufactures offering special prices or samples for free. If you are interested in these offerings just sign up in my newsletter and I will inform you.
However, before you test a new product you should ask yourself what you want to change, what is going wrong, do you have the time, could you take the time or is there a way without technology to improve your glucose values. I can tell you from my own experience your body will thank you for that time and money you invest in yourself. Better late than never!
How does your diabetes setup look like? Are you happy with it?