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

Insulin Pump and Exercise
Print icon

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.


What's New

Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit 1-Year Anniversary

Inpatient Rehab Unit Celebrates First Year

Pride.  Excellence.  Inspiration.  Teamwork.  These were the prevailing sentiments expressed by the speakers Nov. 7 at the Hartford HealthCare Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit’s (IRU) one-year anniversary celebration. The event was a culmination of what was a hugely successful first year for the staff, who have treated 640 patients since the unit...

Cold and Flu Prevention

Keeping Your Student Athlete Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

As certified athletic trainers with Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network, Sabrena Lary and Deanna Barrett take great pride in taking good care of their student athletes both on and off the field. And with flu season just around the corner, they have these tips to help students stay healthy: A mention...

November Classes, Events

A Healthier You: Upcoming Classes, Events in December

Don’t slow down, just because winter’s coming. Learn about joint replacement, art therapy, grief self-care and Medicare 101. That’s only a sample. Find a support  group that might help you, too. For a complete schedule of the rest of this month and December, click here.  

Exercise Program

New Twist for Cancer Survivors: Exercise Makes a Difference

So much of cancer seems beyond your control, but staying as active as possible can be key to managing the side effects of the disease and treatment and improving survival. Gretchin Bade, a physical therapist and program director of oncology with the Hartford Hospital Rehabilitation Network, cited at least 20...

Patellar tendon brace

Knee Pain? What To Do if It’s Patellar Tendonitis

Feeling pain in your knees when you are exercising? Jon Davis of Hartford HealthCare’s Sports Medicine team says that it could be due to patellar tendonitis. Patellar tendonitis, also known as Jumper’s or Kicker’s knee, is the inflammation of a tendon, generally due to overuse. Patellar tendonitis specifically is caused...


Why Am I So Sore The Day After My Workout Or Run?

Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network Staff Report Shall we talk about a shared experience? Let’s start with soreness, a universal complaint by anyone runs seriously enough to train for the Hartford Marathon or the more casual runner working up to his or her first Manchester Road Race. When you’re so sore after a...


How Cardiac Rehab can Help Heart Patients

Cardiac rehabilitation helps patients lose weight, lower their cholesterol, improve diabetes and reduce anxiety and depression after heart-related illnesses and procedures. So why aren’t people taking advantage of these programs? A study found that only 62 percent of people referred to cardiac rehab programs are actually using them. Why is...