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Managing Diabetes 2021

How game-changing tech is revolutionising diabetes care

Image: Laura Yates

Laura Yates

25 years old, living with diabetes and FreeStyle Libre ambassador

New innovations in glucose monitoring technology are making painful finger-prick testing a thing of the past. It’s been a game-changer for those living with diabetes.

Technology has revolutionised the way Laura Yates manages her diabetes. A year ago, she was testing her glucose levels with finger-prick tests, four or five times every day. Now a Flash glucose monitoring system monitors her levels easily and painlessly while she’s on the go, giving her a new sense of freedom.

“From diagnosis until fairly recently, I’ve had to finger-prick test regularly throughout the day,” says Laura, who is living with type 1 diabetes. “When you start finger-prick testing, it can be painful — but I quickly got used to that. For me, the main problem was the inconvenience because I’d have to take time out, wash my hands, and use my finger stick device and glucose meter to carry out the test. This is especially annoying when out and about.”

I’ve accepted that diabetes isn’t something to be ashamed of.

These days, Laura — who works for agri-comms agency Pinstone, when she’s not helping on her parents’ farm — receives a glucose reading simply by scanning a sensor on the back of her upper arm. “I only started using Flash glucose monitoring in March of last year, but it’s been a game-changer for me,” she says. “I wish I’d started using it sooner. I paid for it myself on a trial period for six months, but now I’m gratefully receiving it on NHS prescription. When we’re busy on the farm, it’s so much quicker to test my glucose levels with a quick scan, without needing to leave the task in hand.”

Overcoming confidence issues

Laura believes that Flash glucose monitoring can help people with diabetes who are struggling with opening up about their condition, because it’s so discreet. “I’ve accepted that diabetes isn’t something to be ashamed of” she says.

She did have initial concerns about the sensor, however. “I used to think: ‘I don’t want anything visible on me that shouts out I have health problems’, but I’ve embraced the technology and how amazingly clever it is.”

The sensor is scanned using either a reader or an app on a phone, Laura receives a notification if her glucose goes above or drops below a certain level, prompting her to take corrective action.

Embracing future innovations

The next stage for Laura would be a closed-loop system, where data is sent directly to a pump which would calculate and then automatically deliver the amount of insulin she needs. “An insulin pump that interacts with my sensor would do away with regular injections and make my diabetes management even easier,” she reveals. “The positive experience I’ve had with the Flash glucose monitor has encouraged me to try other innovations.”

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