‘Siri, What’s My Blood Sugar’: Technology and the Insulin Pump

Insulin Pump and Exercise
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Let’s track the technological progression available to diabetics since Melissa Dethlefsen, a  content and social media integration manager at Hartford HealthCare, was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes 22 years ago.

For nine years, her routine included multiple daily injections of insulin, which helps the body use glucose for energy. For 11 years, she  used an insulin pump attached to her body that delivered the insulin hormone. This pump included a noticeable advancement: a continuous glucose monitoring feature that allowed her to check her glucose levels in real time or monitor them over a longer period. With one of these monitors, a diabetic could receive a reading every 5 minutes, reducing the need for finger-stick blood samples.

Dethlethsen later moved to the Omnipod, a wearable, waterproof insulin pump that offers a continuous supply of insulin controlled by a wireless device. Now, in an insulin-meets-the-smartphone marriage, Dethlefsen now supplements her insulin pump with a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor that doesn’t require drawing blood, has a sensor that attaches to her skin for up to 10 days and transmits glucose readings every five minutes.  Here comes the smartphone: The device sends the glucose readings to an app.

Or she can say, “Hey, Siri, what’s my blood sugar?”

“The Dexcom is virtually painless,” she says. “Knowing your blood sugar is on your phone is amazing. It’s also amazing where I can put it: I can wear on my abdomen, leg, arm or back.”

She’s not the only one who can monitor her glucose levels. Her husband also receives notifications on his phone.

“He’ll text me if he sees my blood sugar is low,” she says, “to make sure I’m OK.”

Her doctor can also check the readings — the information is stored in the cloud — and adjust the amount of insulin as needed.

How Can You Exercise With an Insulin Pump?

Healthwise content is included in this report.

For information on Hartford HealthCare Diabetes & Endocrinology, click here.

Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network, a not-for-profit member of Hartford HealthCare, offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, sports medicine and health & wellness programs.  Please call 860.696.2500 or click here for more information.

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