Manitoba resident Sherri Pockett, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, made a presentation on the new Omnipod insulin pump during a diabetes education night at the Legacy Centre on June 14. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
Pricking your finger with a lancet for blood glucose testing may be a thing of the past for those with diabetes.
The Lloydminster Lions Club, Saskatchewan Health Authority, and the Alberta Primary Care Network teamed up to present an education night focused on new diabetes care technology at the Legacy Centre on June 14.
“There has been so many new developments for diabetes technology—aids to help people manage their diabetes that are now available in Canada,” said Helen Rogers, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator for Saskatchewan Health Authority in Lloydminster.
“We are just doing product demonstrations and the rest of the evening is for people to walk around and touch the products and talk to the representatives that are here.”
She said the participating companies and diabetes health reps realize that not all of the technology talked about it is for everybody, but she noted there is something for almost everybody.
The event included presentations on a couple of new continuous glucose monitoring systems including one by Dexcom and Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre.
“These are systems where you wear a sensor under the skin and it continuously reads your blood sugar every five minutes,” said Rogers,
“It can give a person with diabetes wonderful data to help them adjust their diabetes management and help them improve their management.”
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body does not produce enough insulin or it does not use insulin the right way.
It affects about five per cent of the population with Type 2 diabetes more prevalent than Type 1.
Rogers says the cornerstone of diabetes care is diet, medication and exercise with new technology helping to determine the right treatment.
“Many people can get away with the very simple finger stick pokes that we’ve done for years, but this technology is addressing the needs of people with more advanced needs,” said Rogers.
Connie Brausse, a diabetes nurse educator with Saskatchewan Health Authority in Lloydminster who has had diabetes for 35 years, is using the Free Style Libre flash glucose monitoring system to check her blood sugar levels.
“It has actually been a great tool,” she said.
“It allows you to help manage your diabetes without poking your finger for blood glucose testing—for most people would be that six times a day.”
The event included presentations by two insulin pump companies, Medtronic and Ominipod, featuring very different types of insulin pumps that appeal to different parts of the diabetes population.
The downside of the technology is cost, with users struggling to get coverage from public and private insurance companies, but the benefit of having the best care equipment is clearcut.
“We know the better diabetes is cared for and managed over the long term, the less other health issues will develop,” said Rogers.
Lions Club member Brent Smithson presented a cheque for $1,048 to the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation for a local Dexcom sensor funded program.
Brausse explained the Dexcom continuous glucose sensor can be worn under the skin for two weeks for continuous blood glucose readings.
“We will be able to allow people to use that in the community to detect patterns which we will hopefully be able to better manage their diabetes,” said Brausse with their insulin and treatment.