Technology vs. Brains In Diabetes Management

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2017-08-22 21:47:25 -0500
Started 2017-08-17 20:25:48 -0500

Here is a quote that grabbed me today.

"There's no one who would like to see a device that automatically doses based on the levels of a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) more than I do. (Well, except for my two T1D kids; they will want to see this more than me.) It’s going to be fantastic technology when it gets here. But if we’re not prepared now for when the insulin pump and/or CGM malfunctions, I worry what future device failures will bring.

Some people will be in real danger if they are not versed in what to do when they are actually connected to two devices transmitting to each other; and the devices fail to function correctly. And rest assured…they will break, and it will be much more life threatening then walking up a broken escalator, you can count on that!

When it comes to the daily management of diabetes, if we are not prepared to handle the basics, no amount of prayers in the world will help us with gizmos and gadgets." (read the article, his opening analogy is funny, but very sad at the same time.)

The whole article was more on faith and how faith will not help us if we do not know what to do without the devises we have all grown accustomed to having to help us manage our diabetes. I am already a bit anti-tech myself, but this guy really hit the nail on the head.

Do you let your CGM do all the work for you? Have you sat down with a pen and paper and done some math without your calculator to figure out how much you need to bolus or inject before a meal? Can you notice what your body is telling you if you don't have a meter to test with? What happens when your pump clogs or fails to deliver? Do you know the work arounds?

Having a physical connection to our diabetes management is important. Technology fails. Batteries die. Readings can be off. I know it makes our lives easier in many ways and frees up time we would otherwise be spending doing the long division. But never let go of the manual ways to manage your diabetes. Knowing what to do when technology fails may just save your life.

5 replies

Chris Clement
Chris Clement 2017-08-21 15:40:08 -0500 Report

As a CGM user, I can speak to the tech vs. brains aspect of that; or rather, the combination of the two.

I have a more than basic understanding of diabetes at this point. But I'm often surprised when I learn something new and realize how little I knew. Using some of these technological advances in conjunction with my increasing diabetes brain-knowledge can be life changing. My CGM definitely doesn't do all the work for me. But it does give much better data for me to use in decision making, resulting in A1c results I didn't think possible before.

Luis65 2017-08-18 12:35:18 -0500 Report

Technology is only a tool no matter the discipline. The best measuring devices are only worth as much as the operator's ability to interpret and make use of the data.

There must always be work arounds for the inevitable times that tech fails. So a person using a pump that is controlled by a CGM needs to pay attention to what's happening. If there is a breakdown then he/she need to take control of the pump or go back to, what is it, Lou, MDI? (Multi Daily Injections)

Sort of on topic or not- The whole idea of autonomous driving vehicles doesn't sit well with me. Maybe they can be better than inattentive drivers but will they react correctly to my friends and I on bicycles and pedestrians, let alone wildlife and livestock that gets in the road?

As you can see, I have mixed feelings about turning over all control to technology. My computers are always set up so that everything possible requires my permission to do whatever, because I want to know what's going on.

Type1Lou 2017-08-18 08:34:50 -0500 Report

Today's diabetes management tools are wonderful and make our lives easier, but, I agree that we should fundamentally understand our disease and what we need to do to better manage it. We should have a back-up plan to continue managing our BG's in the event of pump/CGM failure. I see too many posts in other diabetes groups where, when a pump fails, people are at a complete loss. I've been pumping since 2011 and, luckily, haven't had any pump failure. I do not use a CGM but I test my BG 8X/day and use temp basals to adjust as needed. I keep syringes and a supply of long-acting insulin on hand so I can revert tp MDI in the event of pump failure. That means knowing my carb to insulin ratios as well as my daily basal insulin usage. The responsible diabetic will be prepared.

w8chd 2017-08-18 02:21:54 -0500 Report

That shouldn't ever be a problem for me. I currently don't use an insulin pump or CGM , don't ever plan to. I will take care of those things myself. I'm not dragging anything around with me I don't have to.