Healthcare professionals may have an advanced understanding of diabetes meters, but how is this translating to the individuals they assist? A female patient with type 2 diabetes, Daisy, sheds light on her ongoing monitoring experience – including the meter’s ease of use, the importance of adherence, and how she has found incorporating the tool into her daily life.
Can you delve into your initial diabetes detection and diagnosis experience?
I first began to notice a few symptoms just after my 48th birthday. I noticed that I was thirsty all the time, and nothing that I drank would quench my thirst. At first, I put it down to being dehydrated but then I started feeling really tired all the time and began going to the toilet more often, especially at night. I eventually visited my GP regarding these symptoms and she ordered some routine bloods. Within a week my doctor phoned and explained that I had type 2 diabetes. I was very shocked, but at the same time relieved that I had found an answer for my symptoms that is entirely treatable.
How were you allocated your diabetes meter?
Following diagnosis, I attended my GP surgery for an appointment with the practice-based pharmacist who runs the diabetic clinic – I received my glucometer during this appointment. Type 2 diabetes was explained very well to me, and it put my mind at ease to know that it had been caught at the right point, and that with some hard work from myself with regards to my diet and exercise, and a little help with some medication, I can really make a difference and even put my diabetes into remission.
What advice and training did you receive from the healthcare professional?
The pharmacist explained that because of one of the medications I would be starting, and because I drive, that I would be required to check my blood sugar levels. I received training on the glucometer from the pharmacist – we watched a video on how to use the glucometer together, and I then had a go at using it myself. It was surprisingly easy, and the glucometer is very simple to use. I was worried about pricking my finger, but it really isn’t as sore as I thought that it would be.
How has the device impacted your diabetes management?
The device has really made my day-to-day management of my diabetes a lot easier. It has allowed me to learn very quickly how different things can affect my blood sugar levels, such as food, medication and exercise. Because I understand how these things affect my sugar levels, I can change what I eat or what I do to stay within my target. This allows me to plan my diabetes around my day and not the other way around!
Are there any factors which are particularly advantageous?
I like the fact that I can connect my meter to an app on my phone. The app organises all my blood sugar results in a colour-coded logbook which allows me to see quickly and easily if my level is below, within, or above target. I also get alerts from the mobile app about high and low blood sugar patterns so that I can make changes to try to prevent these in the future.
How does the meter’s usage slot into your day-to-day routine?
The glucometer is very quick and easy-to-use – each test and result takes less than a minute, so I don’t have to plan my day around when I need to test my blood sugars and can very easily do it on the go, and when I’m out and about.
Have you found adherence difficult?
Following my diagnosis it took a little while to get used to having to measure my blood sugars and getting to grips with how to react to what the result was, but now it is just part of my every day routine and I don’t think twice about it!
How often do you attend for diabetes check-ups? What do these visits consist of?
I attended for my initial appointment, and then again three months later to make sure that everything was moving in the right direction. Now, I attend for a full review of my diabetes once a year – it’s a bit like an MOT!
I attend my GP surgery for bloods and a urine test a week or two before my appointment, and then at the appointment my bloods are reviewed, we look at my diet together, and I get a diabetic foot check. My medication is also reviewed to see if I still need to take it. Because I have been working really hard at my diet and exercise my dose of medication was recently reduced. As diabetes can also cause diabetic retinopathy, I also get my eyes screened once a year to check that there have been no changes to the back of my eye.
Do you think that diabetes meters have evolved throughout the years?
This is the second glucometer I have used since being diagnosed and I can definitely see a major advancement in just a few years. Not only does the meter have a very modern design, but it fits around our modern-day busy lives effortlessly with features like linking it to a mobile app which send you messages and tips from your own ‘Blood Sugar Mentor’! This means I can live my diabetic life with ease (for now that is, until I’m in remission).