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HOW ARE YOU AFFECTED BY THE FOOD YOU EAT? - the educational journey of blood glucose monitoring

Abbott Freestyle Libre sensor and scanning device

There are now products available which track blood glucose on demand by using a sensor and a scanning device rather than pricking your finger. Whilst this technology is invaluable for anyone suffering from diabetes, it is also a very educational tool for anyone who is genuinely interested in their health and wellbeing. The Abbott Freestyle Libre flash glucose monitoring device (the Flash Device) is simple and easy to use.

The Flash Device makes it possible for us to easily track blood glucose on demand over a period of time. Realtime feedback is a strong motivational tool telling us when we’re doing well and allowing us to make corrections when we steer off-track.

Elevated blood glucose over a prolonged period of time is an indication of a poor diet and can alert you to the development of pre-diabetes or metabolic disease. Continuous tracking of blood glucose over a period of time gives us a very good sense of the foods that elevate blood sugar, resulting in insulin spikes. These should be avoided as they are detrimental to our health long-term. Note that the blood glucose response is very individual and what spikes one persons blood glucose may not have much effect on another person.

The FreeStyle Libre Flash Device requires the application of a small round sensor roughly the size of a £2 coin to your arm and it has a lifespan of 14 days (it will alert you by telling you how much time is left). Most people find the application of the sensor painless. The information gathered by the sensor is read and stored by scanning the sensor with a scanning device small enough to fit in your pocket. There is also a LibreLink app for Android phones which allows you to use your phone as scanning device.

The Flash Device provides you with the following data:

• when scanning the sensor your glucose level appears on the scanner with an arrow indicating whether the results are stable or trending upwards or downwards

• a graph of how your glucose levels have varied over the last eight hour period

• graphs of your current and stored glucose readings.

Finger prick blood glucose readings and sensor glucose readings are likely to be slightly different, because the glucose readings from the sensor come from the interstitial fluid (ISF), a thin layer of fluid that surrounds the cells of the tissues below your skin, not from your blood. There is a five to ten minute delay in ISF glucose response to changes in blood glucose. However, glucose readings on ISF have been proven to reliably reflect blood glucose levels.

The Flash Device is a simple and easy way for you to visualise your changing glucose levels more or less real-time. Your stored readings are also aggregated into 24-hour periods, so that you can build up a picture of a 'typical day'. Being able to see your data in this way allows you to identify types of food that make your blood sugar spike and the times of day when your glucose levels fluctuate most from your target range.

The reader also shows information about the number of low glucose events measured (lower than 3.9mmol/L for longer than 15 minutes). Such events are by no means harmful and if you reduce your (refined) carbohydrate intake, you should expect your glucose levels to be low during certain periods of the day.

The reports are more accurate the more data you have – 14 days of data is likely to provide a good prediction of glucose patterns for the next 30-day period. We recommend that you use the Flash Monitor for a period of 14 or 28 continuous days, perhaps eating your normal diet for the first 14 days and then seeking to adjust it based on the findings of the first 14 days.

The Flash Device gives you access to clear information to help you make informed changes to the dietary choices that you make.

The sensor pack and applicator are packaged as a set (separate from the scanning device).

We hope that you will decide to use the Flash Device and that you will find the experience educational and enjoyable! Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions regarding the Flash Device.

#BLOODSUGARdiabetes #prediabetes #metabolicdisease #insulin #healthoptimisation