Find out about the different ways technology can help with the management of type 1 diabetes.

The challenges of living with type 1 diabetes

Taking multiple daily insulin injections and checking blood glucose can help people with type 1 diabetes get their glucose levels close to target. However, keeping glucose near target is difficult and there is a risk of low blood glucose level, which is called hypoglycaemia or a hypo.

Frequent low blood glucose levels can put your health at risk.

Having to manage your glucose on a daily basis is hard work and can also be unpleasant and upsetting which may affect your work and relationships.

Keeping blood glucose levels close to target with the help and support of specialist diabetes teams can reduce the risk of diabetes complications.

Regular injections or insulin pump therapy?  

An insulin pump can replace regular injections and make sugar levels less variable. A pump works by continuously giving you small amounts of insulin, which can be adjusted to give more or less depending on your glucose level, food, activity and other things.

Insulin pump therapy may be funded by the NHS however there is guidance about who is eligible which you should discuss with your doctor or nurse specialist.  

Continuous glucose monitors

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), enables you to check your glucose levels without routinely pricking your finger. Instead, a small sensor sits on your upper arm or tummy and automatically measures your glucose day and night. The readings are continuously stored and can be viewed on a mobile phone or a hand held monitor.

There are two types of CGM:

Real-time continuous glucose monitoring (rtCGM): A Real-Time Continuous Glucose Monitor (rtCGM) is always recording your blood glucose and sending the data to your display device (a handheld monitor or mobile phone). A rtCGM can alert you when your glucose is low, high or changing according to your own settings.

Intermittently scanned continuous glucose monitoring (isCGM): With isCGM, you scan the sensor using a handset or a mobile phone. It’s only when you scan your sensor that you get your reading and trends. However, it does still allow you to set alerts for low and high glucose. These alarms will go off even if you are not actually scanning when the glucose goes low or high.

All people with type 1 diabetes should be offered CGM through the NHS. Some people with type 2 diabetes will also be eligible for CGM on the NHS. For those that are not eligible, some choose to fund it themselves.

Hybrid Closed Loop

A hybrid closed-loop system is a pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that can “talk to each other”. The sensor communicates all changes in blood glucose to the pump which then automatically how much insulin is given.

Although they can help people manage their diabetes, people on hybrid closed-loop systems still have to carbohydrate count accurately and tell the pump when and how much insulin to inject around meals or snacks.

Availability on the NHS varies across the UK. NICE has published the outcome of their appraisal for hybrid closed-loop systems. They recommend that over the next five years, hundreds of thousands of people living with type 1 diabetes should be offered this next-generation technology to help them manage their condition.

Type 1 diabetes technologies from North West London clinics

All technologies for type 1 diabetes are available in North West London through specialist clinics for those who qualify on the NHS for funding. They can be powerful tools to help with type 1 diabetes management when added to support and education.

Your clinic can discuss the type 1 diabetes technologies that may be useful to you and the funding available.

Visit Diabetes UK for information and advice about diabetes technology.

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