Dr. Jeremy Gilbert
Flash glucose monitoring empowers Canadians to take control of their diabetes while also helping to keep doctors informed.
For people living with diabetes, the decisions that dictate quality of life depend on having an accurate and up-to-the-minute understanding of what’s going on in their body. Fortunately, technology is helping these individuals better manage the chronic condition.
Regularly checking glucose levels is an essential part of the daily routine and a clear picture of these levels can guide lifestyle choices like diet and exercise, as well as medication adjustments. “There are significant disadvantages to the traditional way of monitoring sugars using a finger prick,” says Dr. Jeremy Gilbert, an Endocrinologist in Toronto. “For one, it hurts. And that deters people from doing it. Secondly, it only tells you where the sugars are at that moment. It doesn’t tell you which way it’s trending.”
It’s now possible to reduce the need for finger pricks* with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system.** The system measures interstitial fluid glucose levels via a small sensor placed on the back of the upper arm and communicates directly with both your phone and — if you choose — your doctor. “With systems like the FreeStyle Libre, you can simply scan your smartphone over the sensor and know where your glucose levels are at now, which way it’s going, and where it’s been for the last few hours,” says Dr. Gilbert. “It empowers people living with diabetes to be more involved in their own health. And, as a health care professional, I’m now getting this valuable data sent to me electronically. It has been fantastic for helping me give better advice, especially during COVID.”
In fact, the pandemic has turned this sort of technology from a nice-to-have into a complete game-changer. “You can’t be a health care professional and not see benefits from virtual care,” says Dr. Gilbert. “People don’t have to commute to doctor’s appointments, they don’t have to miss school or work. It’s easier to arrange appointments on short notice. And physicians may get to see patients in their home environments, which can be surprisingly informative. I hope that everyone today is recognizing the benefits of virtual care. But, in the diabetes world, technology like the FreeStyle Libre system has helped us immensely.”
With the introduction of the FreeStyle Libre 2 system*** in March, patient choice will be expanding even further. The FreeStyle Libre 2 system will be suitable for diabetes management in people as young as four years old and will include optional, real-time alarms to alert people when their glucose levels are too high or too low.
Unfortunately, barriers to effective health care still exist in Canada, and there is still work to do to ensure that everyone who could benefit from a system like this is able to take advantage of it. “It can be expensive to have a chronic condition like diabetes,” says Dr. Gilbert. “Access to technologies like the FreeStyle Libre system are currently limited in Canada to people with certain needs, but the reality is that this is a system that anyone with diabetes could benefit from.”
Regularly checking glucose levels is an essential part of the daily routine and a clear picture of these levels can guide lifestyle choices like diet and exercise, as well as medication adjustments.
“Access to technologies like the FreeStyle Libre system are currently limited in Canada to people with certain needs, but the reality is that this is a system that anyone with diabetes could benefit from.”****
* A finger prick test using a blood glucose meter is required during times of rapidly changing glucose levels when interstitial fluid glucose levels may not accurately reflect blood glucose levels or if hypoglycaemia or impending hypoglycaemia is reported by the system or when symptoms do not match the system readings. ** The FreeStyle Libre flash glucose monitoring system is indicated for measuring interstitial fluid glucose levels in adults aged 18 years and older with diabetes mellitus. Always read and follow the label/insert. *** The FreeStyle Libre 2 flash glucose monitoring system is indicated for measuring interstitial fluid glucose levels in children aged 4 years and older and adults with diabetes mellitus. Always read and follow the label/insert. **** This is an actual testimonial of a Healthcare Professional and the publisher has consent to use their story. Consent is on file with Abbott. ADC-36017