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When we talk about diabetes, technology inevitably pops into the conversation. Many diabetes management tools come in the form of a high tech or low tech gadget: meters, pumps, continuous glucose monitors, apps—even some insulin pens have bells and whistles. Even with all the newer equipment available, once in a while I'll spot a patient using what I call a "diabetes dinosaur": a meter from the 1980s that is so big and bulky it needs its own zip code, or an insulin pump that's been discontinued for eons.
One thing making diabetes a bit easier these days is newer equipment and technology; until the ultimate tech advancement rolls around (a cure, of course), here are some things to discuss with your CDE to make sure you're up on the latest and greatest:
If you inherited your glucometer from your grandmother, I have news for you: there are better ones out there! Every year, the accuracy of machines and test strips improves, so it pays to check out some new devices, even if you're comfortable with the one you have. Many newer meters are able to hook up to your phone, helping you to track your blood sugars without lugging around a log! Added bonus: newer meters often bring with them better lancing devices and smoother, less painful lancets. Ask your CDE to show you some meters and lancing devices before you commit to make sure the equipment suits your lifestyle.
Pumps and CGMs:
Two new pumps and one upgrade to a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) were approved for use in 2012- pretty big news in the diabetes world! Choosing a new pump or CGM or upgrading your current one is a matter of personal preference along with your healthcare team's recommendations, but being able to see one in person goes a long way to helping you decide which one is right for you. Do you want a sleek, modern looking pump? Or maybe a tubeless pump is more up your alley. Is there a more modern upgrade to your CGM? Talk to your CDE about toying with some samples before taking the plunge. If you're wondering if there are any new upgrades available to the equipment you own, the 1-800 number of the manufacturer is a good place to call to ask. Of course, we'll keep you posted when the "closed-loop" insulin delivery system is finally available in the US!
Other Insulin Delivery Devices:
Vials of insulin and the
oft-dreaded syringe used to be the only way we were able to inject insulin.
Nowadays, there are lots of different insulin pens to choose from: ones that
store memory of past doses, pens that dose in half units, and of course your
standard click-to-dose pens. Newer devices like the V-Go allow you to give
insulin through a patch-like device, without having to fumble with pens or
syringes. Talk to your CDE about this newer option or check it out here: www.go-vgo.com.
New technology can sometimes be scary, especially when you are comfortable with what you have. Remember, your healthcare team can help you test the waters before you commit to moving on from your tried and true devices. Once you see what's out there, we're pretty sure you won't mind letting your dinosaurs go extinct.