When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, they feel helpless and the situation is perceived as very difficult to manage. I speak from experience.
I am a caregiver to my mother and mother-in-law. Both have diabetes for over 20 years now. Although initially we all were extremely scared, over the years we have been able to manage it with the support of the doctor and continuous monitoring of glucose levels.
How To Manage Diabetes
There were times when my mother-in-law’s sugar levels would fluctuate and suddenly she would wake up in the mornings with extremely low levels of glucose. She wouldn’t be in a position to even call out to us to help her. It would be a monumental task for her, to just open up a bottle of sugar cubes next to her bedside and put them in her mouth. It was scary. But like I mentioned, over the years we have realised that the most critical aspect of managing diabetes is continuous monitoring.
My mother-in-law is now under the consultation of an Endocrinologist, whose guidance has helped her to manage the fluctuations in her sugar levels through appropriate medication. The doctor has also recommended to monitor glucose levels every morning fasting levels and two hours post lunch at least twice a week, basis which he recommends the dosage of insulin she needs to take. Earlier we would have to book appointments with a laboratory but over the years we started using a home glucose monitoring machine. This was however too cumbersome and also the pricking of fingers every time dissuaded her from keeping a track of glucose levels.
Thankfully, a couple of months back we got to know about FreeStyle Libre. Using this sensor based continuous glucose monitoring system has made the entire process of monitoring and thereby managing diabetes easy.
How To Use FreeStyle Libre
FreeStyle Libre is in my opinion an extraordinary product. It helps to track the glucose levels without fingerpicks. It comes with a reader and sensor.
FreeStyle Libre sensor:
A small, disposable 14-day sensor that is worn on the back of the upper arm and continuously measures glucose levels and stores them for a period of 8 hours. Every time the user scans the reader over the sensor, the glucose data from sensor is transferred to the reader in one-second.
FreeStyle Libre reader:
A compact, handheld reader that displays glucose readings and stores up to 90 days of glucose data. When the reader is scanned over the sensor, it shows a current glucose reading, last 8-hours of data as well as a trend arrow (indicating if glucose is going up, down or staying steady).
To get a complete picture of the glucose levels, we need to simply swipe the reader over the sensor.
Benefits of using FreeStyle Libre
- It’s completely easy to use. My mother-in-law took exactly an hour to understand it’s working and now is quite comfortable using it independently.
- It’s extremely convenient to use as it automatically measures and stores glucose readings.
- It’s a completely painless method of monitoring glucose levels and the scan can be done over the sensor even through your clothing.
- It gives you data and you can get 8 hours of glucose data and glucose trends. Also, 90 days of glucose data is stored in the reader.
- Glucose levels are tracked continuously so the patterns and trends can be ascertained.
- Freestyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitoring system as opposed to blood glucose monitoring as CGM gives you a range.
Who can use FreeStyle Libre
FreeStyle Libre is approved in broad range of patient population
Type 1 diabetes mellitus
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Children and young adults
Our Experience of using FreeStyle Libre
If I can express how my mother and mother-in-law are feeling after using the FreeStyle Libre; it would be one word: liberating. All these years they have felt as if they are stuck with checking blood glucose. Now, ever since they have been using FreeStyle Libre they feel they are in control. They can now monitor their glucose levels regularly and send data to their doctors, because of which they have access to proper medication based on the patterns of glucose levels.
As a caregiver, it gives me so much peace that my mothers are now independently managing diabetes and I do not feel guilty of not being around to help them out.
Know More about Continuous Glucose Monitoring.