For Diabetics And Their Devices, The Present Is Never Enough

Clay Wiewstone

| Aug 14, 2014

Type 1 diabetics seem to always be living in a transitional phase. The technology we have currently is always about to be replaced with newer, better, fresher technology, It's exciting on one hand and exhausting on the other.

When I was diagnosed, the technology of the time was almost certainly going to be replaced by transplants. The experts weren't sure what was going to be transplanted -- the entire pancreas, just the islets of Langerhans -- but all of this fiddly glucose meter and insulin needle stuff was going to disappear.

We know what happened there. While the transplants were done, and while some of them had limited success, they weren't cures for Type 1 diabetes. So the attention of medical professionals and diabetics themselves shifted.

Insulin pumps, which were once bulky and rarely used , got smaller. They were manufactured in cool colors, and diabetics liked the notion that they could manage their condition 24-7. Flexibility sells, as does the notion medical needs shouldn't limit your life.

As I mentioned last time in this column, that doesn't happen to be quite true. Insulin pumps offer unparalleled opportunities for tight control. But they require vigilance, and they aren't always as precise as advertised. They allow for flexibility, yes, but it's a rigid kind of flexibility.

Attention has recently turned to continuous glucose monitors. Again, they offer great potential. But they're not precisely what people think they are. They give users an understanding of trends and general blood glucose levels, but they're not always specific enough to gauge insulin doses.

So we're once more pointed to the future. The artificial pancreas -- a device uniting the functions of both pump and CGM -- will be the next big thing. Everyone says so, and several trials are under way. Users report positive experiences.

But if you look at this history, and if you think about it, it should be perfectly clear that the artificial pancreas is going to fall short in some way. It's difficult to know exactly how. Perhaps it will require frequent calibrations with finger sticks. Perhaps it will need continual fine-tuning of insulin dosages. Perhaps it may simply be too expensive for most diabetics to use.

Whatever the case, once the devices come out, Type 1 diabetics will once again be told to look toward the future. A new generation of technology will be coming soon. We just need to hold on, and all of the problems will be solved.

We can hope. But at this stage, I've become content to use the technology I have, appreciate what it can do, and understand the limitations. The future will arrive on its own.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: clay wirestone, devices, Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Magazine, diabetes health management, Diabetes Management, Diabetes Supplies, diabetic devices,, diabetic supplies, Living with Diabetes, Pumps, Type 1, Type 1 Diabetes


Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • What's on the Horizon with Diabetes Research and Therapy
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Latest
Popular
Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (2)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Comments 2 comments - Aug 14, 2014

©1991-2014 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.