As a person who works in the field of technology, I often read articles on the latest and greatest in the area of diabetic technology. For example, as of a couple years ago who would’ve thought that continuous glucose monitoring was even possible. In addition, the term, “patch pump”, wasn’t a part of our English language. And who would’ve thought that cell phones would become a part of our diabetes routine, and I’m not just talking about apps for the iPhone. No, I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, etc.
I’ve lived with diabetes for almost 34 years now, and I thought I’d never see the day where we could use so much technology to enhance our lives. But…is it?
I’ve tried two different apps for my iPhone to manage blood sugar readings. Sadly, I would use them for about a day or two and then forget them. Sure, they’re nice and convenient, but they don’t match up against downloading directly from the monitor. Entering a blood sugar reading, on another device, doesn’t seem all that convenient to me. Do I really need to study all this data (graphs, etc.) every day? If you’re a numbers person or analyst who thrives on data overload, then go for it. But for me, it seems overkill.
Continuous Glucose Monitor – aka, ‘CGM’
The good and bad sides of me frequently debate this topic. The good says, “A CGM is a must have with diabetes more so than with any other device available.” While the bad says, “Why should I stick myself with another device and bleed like a stuck pig. Sure, the device is cool, but is it necessary?”
Here is my take. The CGM is great for people who, like my sister, do not recognize their hypoglycemia; otherwise known as hypoglycemia unawareness. In addition, a CGM is great for those diabetics who are extremely busy and/or those who exercise a lot. I do exercise during the day, but at or around the home, so my monitor is never far away. I also test 8-10 times a day, whether at home or at work, so I do my best to stay on top of things. Finally, a CGM is expensive and insurance companies are still having a hard time justifying it. I’m looking forward to the non-invasive version to appear on the market within the next 5 years.
Insulin Patch Pump – Tubeless Pumping
Last year I made a bold decision to try insulin pumping again. I had used a MiniMed 508c and Paradigm 511, but took a couple years off due to too many scar tissue occlusions. My A1c was between a 6.8 and 7. I chose the OmniPod specifically for being tubeless. Aside from taking this summer off from the OmniPod, I really can’t complain about it. I still love the fact it is tubeless.
As for the future in tubeless pumping, I understand all major pump manufacturers are now working on some form of tubeless and/or patch pump. This is great news for insulin pumpers. Now let’s just hope all this is affordable to us. We can only hope.
Artificial Pancreas System – Insulin Pump and CGM
Right now, studies are being done on the so-called, ‘closed loop system’, or the artificial pancreas system. From what I understand, the artificial pancreas system takes away a lot of the diabetes guess work (carbs-to-insulin ratios, current blood sugar levels, and insulin). Imagine eating a slice of pizza and not having to worry about how much insulin to take, along with the strange blood sugar readings that come afterward. The system does it all for you (okay, well mostly – you still have to push a few buttons). This will become a huge benefit to all of us when perfected.
As a long time diabetic, I’m looking forward to the future in diabetes care and the arrival of new innovations. I just hope these new technologies are accurate and affordable.