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David Van der Vloet

Triathlete & Omnipod® Ambassador

Belgian triathlete David Van der Vloet reveals how a tubeless insulin delivery system has helped improve his diabetes management — and made sporting activities easier.

When he was 13, David Van der Vloet was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“Diagnosis was a difficult time,” he says. “All of a sudden I was having to finger prick and inject insulin multiple times a day. I was put on a strict diet and my life had to be incredibly structured. My brothers and my sister, who didn’t have Type 1 Diabetes, could eat whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted — whereas I felt limited. That was hard and frustrating.”

Ground-breaking Diabetes innovation has made life easier

But times — and innovations — change, and over the years, advances in diabetes treatments have brought greater flexibility and freedom into David’s life. When he was in his early twenties, the introduction of fast-acting insulin to his regimen made it easier to time his insulin injections with food, so he could be more spontaneous with mealtimes. Since last October, his insulin has been delivered by the Omnipod DASH® System – a small, tubeless Pod controlled via Bluetooth® from a smartphone-like device called a PDM (personal diabetes manager) meaning he no longer requires multiple daily insulin injections.

This technology has been a godsend, because Belgium-based David is a successful triathlete who competes in Ironman competitions. “Because I do a lot of swimming, running and cycling, I had my doubts about using a pump,” he admits. “In a triathlon, every second counts, so I didn’t want spend time trying to disconnect the device just before a swim. But my system is tubeless and the Pod is waterproof*, so I can swim while wearing it. Those features convinced me to try it, and I’m really glad I did. I haven’t looked back.”

David demonstrates how he wears his Pod discreetly under his upper arm. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have this device when I took part in my first Ironman competition,” he laughs. “I was having to inject myself on my bike while I was racing, which wasn’t easy!”

Giving you more control over your insulin delivery

Having more control over insulin delivery benefits David away from sports, too. For example, by personalising his Omnipod DASH® System settings, it helps him to regulate his insulin delivery at night, which may help prevent nocturnal hypoglycaemia. “It’s made my diabetes management a totally different experience,” he says. “I can work out how much insulin my body needs at a certain time of day or night and regulate the Pod to deliver it.”

David’s message to anyone newly diagnosed with diabetes is “don’t let your diagnosis hold you back,” he says. “People with diabetes can achieve whatever they want, if they have the right support, technology and motivation.”

David, 35, is a triathlete and veteran of various quarter, half and full Ironman competitions. He is preparing for a seven-day cycle from his home in Belgium to Mont Ventoux in southern France, a distance of 1200km. He lives with his wife Aleksandra and two daughters, Hanna (1) and Laura (5) — and runs a diabetes and sports blog.

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* The Pod has a waterproof IP28 rating for up to 7.6 metres for 60 minutes. The PDM is not waterproof
David Van der Vloet is an Omnipod® Ambassador with an on-going commercial relationship with Insulet.
This Omnipod DASH® System user testimonial relates to an account of an individual’s response to treatment with the Omnipod DASH® System. However, the individuals’ response does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the response other persons may have when using the Omnipod DASH® System. The response other persons have could be different. Please speak to your diabetes healthcare professional to assess your suitability for the Omnipod DASH® System.
Refer to the Omnipod DASH® Insulin Management System User Guide for complete safety information including indications, contraindications, warnings, cautions, and instructions.

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