Taking Diabetes Management to a New Level
Written by: Lynette Miller, B.A., M.B.A.
Mother of Lauren, Jake, Zach and Brooke, who has type 1 diabetes
Diabetes affects so many people and their loved ones and while we all hope and wait for a cure, we must strive to maintain good health. There is a vast array of diabetes technology products available including insulin pumps, insulin pens, blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitoring devices with new features such as colorful touch screens, smartphone integration and easy information sharing.
How do you decide whether these products are right for you or your child?
New technology can help you achieve your diabetes-related goals by…
• Gaining better blood sugar control, which can lead to
• Finding more freedom and flexibility with regard to eating
• Avoiding hypoglycemic unawareness while driving or sleeping
• Lowering your HbA1C
• Improving your lifestyle
Using a new technology such as an insulin pump will require you to wear a device 24/7 letting everyone know that you have diabetes. It will require more frequent monitoring and planning ahead for exercise by adjusting basal rates or consuming extra carbohydrates.
There may be the issue of non-compliance for children, which is an important reason to include your child in the decision to use an insulin pump if he/she is old enough to understand. You can also devise a reward system to help your child acclimate to this new insulin delivery method.
You may experience fear of what can (and will) go wrong. Realize that new technology is not perfect and neither is the person using it. Be prepared to do some troubleshooting and understand that diabetes management is often a series of trial and error.
There will be times that despite your best efforts, things will go wrong. The key is to be prepared, always have back-up supplies, and learn from your experiences.
The Learning Curve
Be patient when using continuous glucose monitoring/sensor therapy and understand there is a big learning curve; it takes time, effort, consistency and diligence to master this technology.
Expect frustration at times but don’t give up, because the information it gives you is invaluable.
Learn how to utilize important data while eliminating the rest and be comfortable communicating with your physician before making any treatment decisions.
Don’t be critical of your past performance; use the information to improve your future performance.
Keep an Open Mind
When using any new technology, your motivation is experiencing better blood sugar control and ultimately fewer complications. You can accomplish this by incorporating the new technology as just another step in the diabetes routine, take breaks if the management is overwhelming and talk to others using the technology to gain knowledge and get support.
In conclusion, when using new technology keep an open mind…get the training you need, try the device and know that you can always return to insulin shots if it’s not working with your lifestyle. On the other hand, it may help tremendously and make you and/or your child a healthier person.