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How Diabetes Treatments Have Changed

It’s always so interesting to hear from people who have been living with diabetes for several years and hear about the advancements in diabetes management. Seeing pictures and stories about what life was like 10, 20, and even 40 years ago is powerful in regard to having an understanding about how far treatments have come. Today, hear from our Medtronic Ambassador, Phyllis, about what life used to be like versus today, while living with diabetes.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), over 40 years ago. It seems as though not much has changed in 40 years, doesn’t it? On the surface you can say that. We still need to know how much sugar is in our system to know how much insulin to take. However, when you dig a little deeper, what has changed is how glucose levels are determined and how insulin is taken. Take a look at my experiences over the years versus where we are today.

Determining glucose levels:

Then: For about half of my diabetes life, glucose levels, or sugar levels were determined by urine testing. The process started by peeing in a cup, then mixing specified amounts of drops of urine and water into a glass test tube, then adding a tablet which caused some sort of chemical reaction. The resulting color determined the result. To me it seemed like magic! The color ranged from blue, the least amount of sugar, to orange, the largest amount. The color determined how much insulin should be taken. I remember keeping my fingers crossed for blue. It was far from glamorous, and it was far from exact since it captured the amount of sugar from the last urine sample, but it’s all we had, and we made do. To this day blue is still my favorite color.

In between: The shift from urine testing to home blood testing seemed slow. I remember my first blood sugar meter was about the size of a brick and took over 2 minutes to get the results. Part of the process also included blotting or wiping blood off strips before getting the result. There was a period of time when you had to calibrate each bottle of test strips to the meter. But even the annoyance of calibrating each bottle of strips, and the bulk of the early meters, it was so much better than the previous method!

Keep in mind, during this time digital logbooks didn’t exist. Everything you needed to be recorded was done so in a paper logbook.

Now: My current blood sugar meter delivers results in 5 seconds and sends the result via Bluetooth to my insulin pump, and my data is automatically uploaded to the CareLink system, so all of my information is in one spot. No more paper logbooks!

In addition to my blood sugar meter, I also use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which has felt like the ultimate diabetes game changer for me. I was an early adopter of the Medtronic Diabetes Sof-Sensor, and while I didn’t use it consistently, having the system take readings every 5 minutes that I could access through my insulin pump felt amazing. I used it when I traveled, and when I needed extra data to help find problems that frequent blood sugar testing wasn’t able to provide. It wasn’t until the Medtronic Diabetes Enlite Sensor that I truly accepted and used the technology and have used Medtronic CGM consistently ever since.

Taking insulin:

Then: When I was diagnosed, the only way to take insulin was through an injection. I started with one injection per day and then was up to three injections per day, until I started insulin pump therapy.

I skipped the insulin pen stage and went from multiple daily injections straight to an insulin pump.

Now: I decided to start insulin pump therapy because I needed more flexibility in my diabetes management. My first insulin pump was the MiniMed 508, which didn’t even have a Bolus Wizard! Even though the technology was pretty basic, it still was a game changer for me. I no longer needed to worry about insulin peaking, or the long-acting insulin not lasting long enough.  I’ve had several different Medtronic insulin pumps over the years. As much as the MiniMed 508 insulin pump was a game changer for me in 2000, the MiniMed 670G system with the Guardian Sensor 3 has made an even bigger difference in my diabetes management. The MiniMed 670G system has helped me spend less time chasing high and low glucose1, which helps me feel better, and I recently just switched to the MiniMed 770G system!

Looking Back: People often ask me: “how did you do it?” Without access to the technology we have today, how did my parents and I manage diabetes? The answer is easy – we didn’t have a choice. We made do with what we had and welcomed each new thing no matter how big or small the new treatment was.

Over the years some advancements seemed slower than others but each one made a difference in how I treated my diabetes.

Looking to the future: It’s hard to be patient these days with new diabetes treatment options. Some seem to come faster than others, but I look forward to what the future holds and what it means for me and my diabetes management.

 

1Refers to SmartGuard™ Auto Mode. Some user interaction required. Individual results may vary.

The testimonial above relates an account of an individual’s experience with a Medtronic device. The account is genuine, typical and documented. However, this individual’s experience does not provide any indication, guide, warranty or guarantee as to the response or experience other people may have using the device. The experience other individuals have with the device could be different. Experiences can and do vary. Please talk to your doctor about your condition and the risks and benefits of Medtronic devices.

Important Safety Information

MINIMED™ 770G SYSTEM WITH SMARTGUARD™ TECHNOLOGY

The MiniMed™ 770G system is intended for continuous delivery of basal insulin (at user selectable rates) and administration of insulin boluses (in user selectable amounts) for the management of type 1 diabetes mellitus in persons two years of age and older requiring insulin as well as for the continuous monitoring and trending of glucose levels in the fluid under the skin. The MiniMed™ 770G system includes SmartGuard™ technology, which can be programmed to automatically adjust delivery of basal insulin based on continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensor glucose (SG) values and can suspend delivery of insulin when the SG value falls below or is predicted to fall below predefined threshold values. The Medtronic MiniMed™ 770G system consists of the following devices: MiniMed™ 770G insulin pump, the Guardian™ Link (3) transmitter, the Guardian™ Sensor (3), one-press serter, the Accu-Chek® Guide Link blood glucose meter, and the Accu-Chek® Guide test strips. The system requires a prescription. The Guardian™ Sensor (3) has not been evaluated and is not intended to be used directly for making therapy adjustments, but rather to provide an indication of when a fingerstick may be required. All therapy adjustments should be based on measurements obtained using a blood glucose meter and not on values provided by the Guardian™ Sensor (3). All therapy adjustments should be based on measurements obtained using the Accu-Chek® Guide Link blood glucose meter and not on values provided by the Guardian™ Sensor (3). Always check the pump display to ensure the glucose result shown agrees with the glucose results shown on the Accu-Chek® Guide Link blood glucose meter. Do not calibrate your CGM device or calculate a bolus using a blood glucose meter result taken from an Alternative Site. It is not recommended to calibrate your CGM device when sensor or blood glucose values are changing rapidly, e.g., following a meal or physical exercise.

WARNING: Do not use the MiniMed™ 770G system until appropriate training has been received from a healthcare professional. Training is essential to ensure the safe use of the MiniMed™ 770G system.

Pump therapy is not recommended for people whose vision or hearing does not allow recognition of pump signals and alarms. Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to maintain contact with their healthcare professional. The safety of the MiniMed™ 770G system has not been studied in pregnant women. For complete details of the system, including product and important safety information such as indications, contraindications, warnings and precautions associated with system and its components, please consult http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/important-safety-information#minimed-770g and the appropriate user guide at http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/download-library.

 

MINIMED™ 670G SYSTEM

The Medtronic MiniMed™ 670G system is intended for continuous delivery of basal insulin (at user selectable rates) and administration of insulin boluses (in user selectable amounts) for the management of type 1 diabetes mellitus in persons, seven years of age and older, requiring insulin as well as for the continuous monitoring and trending of glucose levels in the fluid under the skin. The MiniMed™ 670G system includes SmartGuard™ technology, which can be programmed to automatically adjust delivery of basal insulin based on Continuous Glucose Monitor sensor glucose values and can suspend delivery of insulin when the sensor glucose value falls below or is predicted to fall below predefined threshold values. The system requires a prescription. The Guardian™ Sensor (3) glucose values are not intended to be used directly for making therapy adjustments, but rather to provide an indication of when a fingerstick may be required. A confirmatory finger stick test via the CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 blood glucose meter is required prior to making adjustments to diabetes therapy. All therapy adjustments should be based on measurements obtained using the CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 blood glucose meter and not on values provided by the Guardian™ Sensor (3). Always check the pump display to ensure the glucose result shown agrees with the glucose results shown on the CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 blood glucose meter. Do not calibrate your CGM device or calculate a bolus using a blood glucose meter result taken from an Alternative Site (palm) or from a control solution test. It is not recommended to calibrate your CGM device when sensor or blood glucose values are changing rapidly, e.g., following a meal or physical exercise. If a control solution test is out of range, please note that the result may be transmitted to your pump when in the “Always” send mode.

Pump therapy is not recommended for people whose vision or hearing does not allow recognition of pump signals and alarms. Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to maintain contact with their healthcare professional. The safety of the MiniMed™ 670G system has not been studied in pregnant women. For complete details of the system, including product and important safety information such as indications, contraindications, warnings and precautions associated with system and its components, please consult http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/important-safety-information#minimed-670g and the appropriate user guide at http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/download-library

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