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Using data to manage diabetes


By Wilson Chua

If you are a diabetic and have not heard of Abbott’s Free Style Libre, YOU need to read this. There is a pain-free way of collecting blood sugar data. Because, now, instead of using the lancet and strips, Libre uses a sensor and reader. No more painful pricks.
The system works by applying a 35mm sensor to a patch of skin on your arms and using a reader to read the measurements. The most important benefit of such a system is that you can take AS MANY measures of your blood sugar in a day as you want.

As my brother in law says, when you see your blood sugar going up, it is time to stop eating and start exercising. When you see your blood sugar go way down, you know to stop working and start eating. Over time, you can identify which foods cause blood sugar to spike. You also learn which food gives a slower release. (Small sized apple in his experience).

For big data guys like us, there is a bonus. You can upload the high frequency blood sugar measurements to the “cloud”. You don’t need to manually type the readings into an Excel spreadsheet. Then you get extra insights into how you can better manage your condition better.

The graph below shows the blood sugar patterns over a 14-day period:


The patient’s snapshot shows that her average Glucose is 7.7 (or 138 when I apply a rule of thumb multiplier of 18 to the 7.7).  This patient took about 2 measures every hour (48 scans if perfectly taken over 30 minutes).

What worries me is the 13 Hypo Events. So, we drill down into the reports to find out more:


The hypo event, (when the blood sugar is dangerously low), can be seen on the above calendar display where there are red down arrows.  So, we know which dates have hypo events. We can also check the time of the day.


So now, we know that the probability of low blood sugar events is during the 2-3am and during the 5-7pm time frame. Now we can look at meals times to look for any correlation:


Disclaimer: I am in no way connected with Abbott, nor am I paid to promote it. I just want to share this to our readers. I urge you to share it with your doctors, friends and family as well.



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