2020-01-17

Diabetes, and CGMs (Freestyle), non-diabetic using one!

I have been diabetic for a few years. My mum was too, since she had me, and we suspect this is what did my grandfather in (undiagnosed) to be honest. It is often hereditary.

I have often felt almost like some sort of fraud. I have insulin, as just taking tablets was not working, but the process is to review my HbA1c, maybe once a year, which is a test that sort of gives an average blood glucose over some months, which is not that good a "picture". But (having lost some weight) I am on a low daily dose of insulin now. That has advantages (one jab) and disadvantages (cannot adapt to changing circumstances easily). I have tablets too. It is "mild" compared to many people.

However, when I started losing weight, I also decided to buy, with my own money, at a cost of some £100+ a month, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). It sticks on my arm and logs interstitial glucose levels and keeps a history. It has its quirks, like only 8 hours of data (and some times I try and sleep more than that!) so has to be scanned at least that often for a full picture. It is also maybe half an hour behind blood sugar levels, so I can feel hypo when it shows higher as it has not caught up.

However, I have found it hugely useful with managing my diabetes and diet. It is really good for making me aware of the wrong things to eat (basically sugar) and what I can eat in moderation and get away with in, and how much I can eat of something without getting away with it. This is mostly feedback of history rather than "am I really hypo now" which a blood test can do.

Sadly they are not cheap, but I feel they should be used more. They are normally only prescribed for people with severe diabetes, but I can see they should be really useful, even for people just trying to control it with diet. It is a shame they are not cheaper and prescribed more.

Recently I was able to see what a "normal person" is like on one of these. That said, it was rather odd. A friend of mine (who will, no doubt, read this blog) was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. So I gave her a CGM (and another as she knocked the first one off on a car door, FFS). She did not want to do the requested 8+ finger pricks a day, so my treat.

The thing is, having used the CGM, no way is she remotely diabetic. This is one day (with her permission)... Yes, charge that battery FFS!


Subsequent days I have seen are lower than that. She does not spike over 7 even when eating stuff she knows she should not.

For me this was really interesting as I did not know what a "normal", non-diabetic person looked like on a CGM, and now I do. It puts my graph to shame, and I am well controlled (apparently).

Like I say, I almost felt like a fraud, until I saw that, and I know I am nothing like that good. My diabetes is mild, under good control, but very real. I don't feel like a fraud any more, and even wonder if I need fast acting insulin doses when I eat as I can peak at 10 mmol/l, and occasionally more.

Interesting stuff.

P.S. As requested, here is one of mine, on a really good day... Most days I am peaking higher.


3 comments:

  1. It would be useful if you posted one of your charts for comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This isn't a subject I know much about, but I've been led to believe that the test for gestational diabetes is no longer used to diagnose diabetes in the NHS except for pregnant women as it has a high false positive rate.

    ReplyDelete

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