Think about for those who needed to repeatedly verify your blood sugar stage all through your life. Should you needed to spend your days counting carbs, injecting insulin, and approaching every part with rigorous self-discipline. As a wholesome particular person, I need to admit: I discover this tough even to think about. That’s why I made a decision to conduct an experiment and expertise first-hand the on a regular basis issues an individual with diabetes should face.
On this article, I current my observations after two weeks of sporting a glucose sensor so that you simply don’t must think about. You possibly can hopefully use my expertise to grasp.
Religion within the energy of know-how
To be clear, I don’t have diabetes. However I do know folks with each sort 1 and kind 2 diabetes. Kind 1 diabetes is when the physique is totally depending on exterior insulin dosing. Kind 2 is when the physique can produce a portion of insulin. But it surely’s not sufficient to control blood sugar ranges — or the physique can’t metabolize insulin accurately.
Provided that I don’t have diabetes, I discover it laborious to think about how it will really feel to must plan each meal. To must compose each plate of meals in such a manner that it wouldn’t affect my blood sugar ranges; to calculate what number of models of insulin I’d want at any given time. I’ve additionally by no means skilled diabetes-related signs like waking up in the midst of the evening with very low blood sugar — generally known as hypoglycemia — or waking up within the morning with very excessive blood sugar, referred to as hyperglycemia.
I additionally haven’t skilled the sensation of my blood sugar spiking or dipping so quickly it will make my head spin.
The one manner I can know what it’s like is to take heed to the individuals who’ve confronted the challenges. And to learn tales in regards to the struggles, difficulties, small successes, and hard-hitting failures of their each day combat towards the illness.
…However why put myself by way of all of this?
Effectively, as a result of I’m a technical particular person. I’ve a biomedical background. And I imagine that know-how can revolutionize the best way we deal with circumstances. I’m satisfied we are able to use technological options to assist folks with completely different ailments to dwell a standard life — supplied we perceive the context.
And that’s the place my story started.
Understanding the on a regular basis issues of a diabetic
Sooner or later, I made a decision I wished to be the co-creator of an answer that might assist folks with diabetes self-manage the illness. I made a decision regardless of realizing little in regards to the know-how diabetics use of their each day routine. On the similar time, I had no private expertise of the issues these with the illness face.
Nonetheless, I used to be intent on beginning this mission. Now, my day had arrived. Plus, I knew what I wished to realize, and I had a plan — a minimum of, so I believed.
However after the preliminary euphoria, I bumped into an issue with my technical method.
You see: I had determined to construct an algorithm to foretell glycemia over a particular time horizon. I had information from folks with diabetes: about blood sugar stage, insulin dosages, ingested carbs — and I’d ready them to make use of as inputs for a machine studying algorithm.
However after I began engaged on the algorithm, making an attempt to foretell blood-sugar ranges from historic information, I spotted that information alone isn’t sufficient.
I struggled to interpret the outcomes of my work, and I had no clue easy methods to enhance the algorithm I had constructed. Right here was when the apparent dawned: I spotted I might by no means clear up the issue till I understood it: as you first must stroll within the sneakers of the folks you wish to assist earlier than you may assist them.
…however I couldn’t simply ‘get diabetes,’ so I’d must discover a completely different path.
I joined diabetes help teams on Fb. I researched the well being issues related to the illness. I learn each article, e-book, and paper I might discover on treating it. Then, I began to have a look at the know-how: insulin pens, glucometers, insulin pumps — and steady glucose monitoring methods.
This was when my curiosity morphed right into a fascination.
What’s steady glucose monitoring? And the way does it work?
Steady glucose monitoring (CGM, for brief) is my new favourite know-how. It’s an ingenious resolution that lets folks management their blood glucose ranges with no need to prick themselves.
The gadget includes a small sensor that sits anyplace on the physique — normally the arm — and a receiver, like a smartphone app or one other gadget. The CGM helps folks with diabetes restrict their use of glucometers, solely needing these gadgets after they wish to verify the accuracy of CGM readings or if they’ve hypoglycemia.
The merchandise are extraordinarily highly effective, but only a few corporations produce steady glucose monitoring/flash glucose monitoring methods. The most well-liked of them are:
Nonetheless, I noticed the CGM as probably the most promising remedy know-how. Furthermore, it was a tool I might really use — then, at some point, such a chance arose.
I wore a CGM sensor for fourteen days
I spent fourteen days with a small sensor on my arm. The plan was easy: scan my blood sugar ranges as usually as potential, notice all carbs in my meals, monitor bodily exercise, and document any extra related data.
At the very least, it sounded easy — however was it?
Simply at some point into the experiment, and it turned clear it wasn’t. Scanning the sensor was no difficulty, and a smart-band on my wrist recorded each bodily exertion. Nonetheless, counting the carbs in each meal was a horrible job.
I shortly turned to meals monitoring apps. However I simply as shortly realized they didn’t meet my wants — so guess what occurred subsequent? Certainly.
I ended recording what number of carbs I ate.
I spotted it’s far simpler to trace what you eat — particularly when you’ve a weight loss program plan — than to watch the person ranges of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins. And regardless that my ‘easy’ plan had spectacularly failed, I nonetheless had a stage of management over what I used to be consuming, with an thought for what I’d do subsequent.
I stayed inquisitive about how completely different meals and circumstances — each inside and exterior — had been affecting my blood sugar. And I made a decision to observe my blood sugar ranges after several types of meals.
After fourteen days on the brand new plan, I can say this was not such a tough job. Nonetheless, what if I had to do that for the remainder of my life?
I’m undecided it will really feel easy eternally.
See additionally: How Synthetic Intelligence Is Reworking Diabetes Care?
My observations after 14 days of sporting the sensor
After fourteen days sporting a steady glucose monitor, I got here to understand how well-adapted our our bodies are to altering circumstances:
- I recorded a major distinction in my blood sugar ranges when consuming gentle versus darkish bread
- My blood sugar ranges had been recognizably decrease after consuming home-cooked meals versus meals ready in eating places or factories
- I observed how in a different way my physique reacted to the identical meal consumed on completely different days
As soon as I studied my blood sugar ranges intimately, I started to understand the phenomena of satiety and starvation in a distinct gentle. I observed how bodily exercise would have an effect on sugar ranges: and that I wanted to consider goal depth earlier than deciding what to eat earlier than train.
Daily, I discovered new inside and exterior elements that affected my blood sugar ranges. Nonetheless, I didn’t have to fret about insulin dosing as my pancreas was dealing with the spikes and troughs.
Every time my goal glucose vary rose above a threshold: my pancreas would ship the proper insulin dose to convey the degrees again to the place they need to be.
And may my physique enter a state of midnight hypoglycemia — my sugar ranges as soon as dropped to beneath 50 mg/dL — my liver would convert glycogen to glucose, which was channeled straight into my bloodstream to revive the stability.
That means every morning, I woke with sugar ranges inside, or very close to, the traditional vary. So I’m grateful to see my regulatory system is working positive.
Sadly, not everybody can say the identical.
Did the experiment meet my expectations?
Completely. My fortnight-long journey confirmed me greater than I ever anticipated. I nonetheless can’t say I’ve skilled every part an individual with diabetes should face — however the experiment taught me how laborious the lifetime of an individual with diabetes is.
Not least as a result of it’s so difficult to take care of a gentle blood sugar stage and nonetheless dwell a balanced life with out letting self-discipline slip.
In spite of everything, few persons are dieticians, nutritionists, or private trainers. And fewer folks have limitless entry to such specialists. That’s why most of us are pressured to belief the knowledge we discover on-line or elsewhere.
This leaves most individuals with diabetes in a state of self-reliance as soon as they’ve acquired steerage from a physician. And so, many seek for technological or home-grown options, quite than hope that Huge Pharma will trip to the rescue.
As a ‘wholesome’ one that solely needed to observe a small a part of the lifetime of an individual with diabetes — and for simply fourteen days — I do know it’s no small job. Furthermore, I can see the way it’s a lot greater than merely sticking to a meal plan.
Moments of resignation and powerlessness are comprehensible. However as with each illness, routine finally sneaks in.
Even I began to scan myself at evening if I observed the reader inside arm’s attain. And I can solely think about how somebody with diabetes might, in some unspecified time in the future, unwittingly dose insulin in a state of sleep-induced semi-consciousness.
Conversely, it’s simply as straightforward to overlook to take insulin in good time earlier than a meal; or to fail to document a carbohydrate depend, leaving you in an anxious state.
In spite of everything, everybody makes errors. However in case you have diabetes, one mistake can have far-reaching penalties — and sporting a CGM helped me perceive this level higher than I ever might have hoped.
Enjoyable details from my fourteen-day CGM expertise
Summing up my glucose sensory expertise
Some issues appear straightforward to unravel. However they not often are: not till you perceive the complete context. Nonetheless, you may’t all the time put your self within the sneakers of an individual with a particular illness — and I’d by no means urge anybody to take action.
You want to discover your personal path to an answer. Mine simply occurred to contain know-how as a result of I’m a technologist at coronary heart, and the method held no dangers for me.
My steady glucose monitoring expertise helped me learn the way my physique reacts to the meals I sometimes eat. Furthermore, it gave me a extra focused method to an issue that, till then, I might solely have a look at the speculation.
The expertise has taught me I mustn’t suggest an answer with out realizing all of the points of the issue.
Furthermore, it has proven me how we are able to use know-how for extra than simply facilitating routine actions. We will attempt to create options for many who want them probably the most — in such an space, creativeness is the one restrict.
That’s why at DLabs.AI in addition to DiabetesLab (our personal mission that helps folks in controlling the sickness utilizing AI), we’re all the time wanting past the norm.
In actual fact, we’re engaged on an answer that might at some point assist hundreds of individuals with diabetes dwell an easier life.
Do you wish to study extra about our diabetes self-management app?
Contact us or simply obtain our free demo.