The Freestyle Librè Flash Glucose Monitor - A useful tool or an inaccurate nuisance.

Diabetics now have a plethora of gadgets and gismos to choose from to help them manage their blood sugars. Depending on where you live, some may be free but in another country it may be thousands of dollars a year. So, before you jump straight in and pick one up, maybe check where you live first.


After that, it's important to take stock of your level of glucose control. i.e. are you already on a pump and want to add a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) or are you MDI (multiple daily injections), what is your HbA1c, time in target range, etc. We need to know this because (without judgement) if you eat like a trooper, drink like a whale and throw caution to the wind, is another glucose monitor going to help?


To add fuel to the fire, you'll also need to look at your lifestyle. Do you play contact sports, or any other type of extracurricular activity that may increase the chance of the Librè being knocked off (again, no judgement).


In the end, after you've done the math and ran through your day-to-day life and think to yourself, yes! this will help me, then let's have a look at the Freestyle Librè as a viable tool to help us manage our blood sugars.


A scanner takes a reading from the sensor

The Freestyle Librè comprises of a round sensor roughly the size of a 20 cent piece. This sensor is literally stamped onto the back of the upper arm and is held down by adhesive that coats the underside.

NOTE: This adhesive is ok, not great. If you are active, swim or gym then it won't last 14 days. In fact, it's pretty easy to walk into a door and for it to be dislodged. Some people have also reported having reactions from this adhesive. Its advisable to secure it with some tape. I use rock tape, bought from most chemists / pharmacies. Also, you can stick it to other parts of your body and it'll still work fine.


As you can see in the image above, the lovely lady is scanning her sensor with a reader provided by Abbott (they make the Librè) - these are useful, as you could keep it in the car and scan safely whilst driving. They can also be directly connected to your computer and the information shared with your medical team. They are an added cost though - here in Australia they are nearly $100, so not cheap. You don't need to change them periodically but still.


Alternatively, you can scan the sensor with an NFC enabled smartphone and get the reading directly onto your mobile via an app. This is pretty painless and quick, but if you want to enable both the reader and smartphone to scan the sensor, then you have to scan the reader first, then scan with the smartphone. Both are then able to scan for the lifespan of the sensor.



Arguably, one of the biggest positives of the Librè is that it makes life easier. NO MORE FINGER PRICKS. It's not the only tech on the market that has this feature mind you. All the CGM's do this, nevertheless, its massive for a diabetic who's being pricking their fingers for years. so, how does it do this?


In the centre of the sensor is a tiny needle. This sits just below the skin and takes a reading of the interstitial fluid which is then sent to the reader or phone. It takes a reading every 5 minutes, so you're able to view a continuous day, week, month, year of readings - but also, you can see what your blood sugars are doing overnight. This is very important as any diabetic knows, so having this feature is a massive benefit. The downside is that although it knows your blood sugars overnight, it doesn't alert you to them if they begin to drop or rise too much like a CGM would.


A further downside, and one that it shares with all cgm's, is that it reads interstitial fluid NOT blood. That means there's a 5 - 15 minute delay in the reading of your blood sugar. If your blood sugars are rising or falling sharply, then this 15 mins could be dangerous. If you're still wondering, interstitial fluid is made up of numerous other cells like fat and salt.


A lot of users of the Librè are huge fans as it greatly impacts the quality of their life as well as makes it safer in certain situations like driving. However, due to some of its features mentioned above, many users prefer to use CGM's as they offer the added security of alarms. The only way for you to make that choice is to try it for yourself.


If you have any further questions on the Librè, please don't be shy and get in contact - I have been using it for nearly 3 years. If you want more detailed info on what technology is out there, head on over to Believe the hypo's technology page HERE.


Here's a short video on applying the Librè.




Nathan

Believe the hypo

www.believethehypo.com


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