A fortnight ago I was invited to attend the Diabetes Exchange (DX) program hosted by Abbott Diabetes Care in Sydney. The global DX initiative brings together bloggers to talk about all things diabetes and/or not! The DX2Sydney event brought a group from around Australia in one room for a few days.
I was extremely excited about this event, as its focus was on technology and more specifically the FreeStyle Libre – which I have been eagerly waiting for.
The room on Thursday evening had this amazing ‘buzz’ about it. Introductions were made and everyone was chatting away. I felt very privileged and honoured to be a part of DX2Sydney as it was one of the first ‘reveals’ of the product, but most of all, I felt very inspired to be in a room full of amazing, motivating,
informed and passionate individuals. (The list of who attended is at the end of this post).
Thank you fellow bloggers for making the two days so much fun and encouraging!
So, to the FreeStyle Libre…
I was so excited to trial the product and I am so excited to share my experience with you!
I have been wearing the sensor for two weeks now and I have to say that it has made my ‘diabetes’ life very convenient.
To make it simple I thought I would do a Q&A style blog to explain my thoughts and opinions on the product.
What is the FreeStyle Libre?
The FreeStyle Libre is the new, flash glucose monitoring system that has received TGA approval in Australia. The device tests your interstitial fluid (not your blood) to get your glucose levels.
The FreeStyle Libre has two components; the sensor and the reader.
The sensor is small (about the size of a 20cent coin) and lasts for 14 days. It is worn at the back of the arm and automatically measures your levels throughout the day. It has the ability to store up to 8 hours of readings. The re-chargeable reader is roughly the same size as most other metres on the market and is used to scan over the sensor to obtain the glucose reading.
Essentially, this device can replace multiple finger pricks throughout the day.
No, I didn’t need to calibrate the FreeStyle Libre. Unlike CGM systems, the FreeStyle Libre is calibrated to factory settings, so, it is not necessary to do finger pricks unless you feel very different to what the reader is actually showing you. The sensor does take approximately an hour to warm up though.
How accurate was the FreeStyle Libre? What was the difference between the FreeStyle Libre and my Blood Glucose Metre?
The first few days I was obsessed with comparing the results from my normal blood glucose meter (BGM) and the FreeStyle Libre. The first 24 hours was probably where I saw the biggest difference between my BGM and the FreeStyle Libre. By the 2nd day of wearing the sensor, my readings were on par and very accurate. I found that there were occasional discrepancies between devices if I was really high or really low and also if my levels were changing quickly but nothing that I was too concerned about.
What did it feel like on the arm? Was I paranoid of it being on the arm?
At first, I have to admit, that I was a bit self-conscious but when you’re in a room of other diabetics that are also wearing the device, that feeling did subside. The days following the event, I was trying to wear longer sleeves to cover the device but then I just got over it. Instead of being paranoid of it being displayed I have used it to actually raise awareness of type 1 and highlight the amazing research that is happening in this space. I have received a few strange looks from people and have even received the comment ‘Ohh, I didn’t picture you as a smoker’ (as the sensor was mistaken for a nicotine patch – I’m not a smoker). I just laughed it off and explained what it really is.
Yes, it lasted the full 14 days on my skin although the tape around the sensor towards day 11/12 wasn’t sticking as well. I was a bit more careful when getting changed and carrying my bag on that arm in case it was ripped out.
There is a one off cost for the reader of $95.00 and then each sensor is $95.00. So, that means it is $95.00 for a fortnight – expensive I know! You can’t try to extend the sensor life because it is factory set to discontinue after 14 days.
Please note, as mentioned at the beginning of this post all bloggers were brought together by Abbott diabetes care. The Abbott team covered all our costs and each attendee received FreeStyle Libre products. There were no requirements or expectations for the attendees to blog, post social media activity or anything else about the products. All the words written above are my own.