This educational content is made possible with support from Abbott, the makers of the FreeStyle Libre 2. Editorial control rests solely with JDRF.
Hannah M. was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 3 years old in 2000 and remembers how afraid she was of having to prick her finger. She had the tale-tell signs, including extreme thirst and fatigue, and ending up going to the hospital where she was eventually diagnosed.
“My life changed within a day,” says Hannah, who remembers being so young at the time that the support of her parents was critical in helping her maintain control over her blood sugar levels. When she tried her first continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in elementary school, Hannah went along with her classmates’ observations that her new tech made her appear like a robot!
“I thought I was so cool that I got to be like a robot, and the new technology wasn’t scary at all. I was excited because it made taking care of myself a lot easier.”
The device that made Hannah’s classmates think she turned into a robot was a CGM, but for many CGMs are still a foreign term. So, what exactly are CGMs?
CGMs are FDA-approved devices that provide insight into glucose levels 24 hours a day. They display information about glucose direction and speed while providing additional information to help with a user’s diabetes management. One of the most crucial benefits of using a CGM is having the device actively monitor your blood-glucose levels at night and alerting you of an approaching high or low.
Fast forward to now, where Hannah is currently a graduate school student with an extremely busy schedule. Hannah wears the FreeStyle Libre 2, a CGM device manufactured by Abbott, and feels that 20 years later, although she still has T1D, she is thriving.
“These devices are life-changing because they affect the whole way you take care of yourself.”
Where Hannah may have skipped eating particular foods, wearing a CGM has given her more control to make the choices she wants without feeling restricted. She can also give her full attention to her studies without having to take breaks for manual finger pricks.
“I love not having to constantly thing about if my glucose is okay, because I’ll know automatically. I can just be a student, and not have to think about anything else.”
As technology progresses so do the features of CGMs, making glucose monitoring even more seamless. One of Hannah’s favorite new features is the ability to control the alarms on her device where she can set her own range for high and low glucose levels.
“I can also temporarily turn off the alarm function during class so that my CGM doesn’t go off while I’m giving a presentation.”
One tip that Hannah has for other CGM users or those who are thinking about using a CGM: “I’ve learned how helpful it is to have a routine. It’s good for maintaining my glucose levels and I’m able to make better decisions.”
If you want to learn more about the variety of CGMs available and their features, visit our CGM fact-sheet. CGMs also require a prescription through your health care provider, so if you have any questions about coverage of your T1D supplies or devices like a CGM, visit our Health Insurance Guide.
Being diagnosed at the young age of 3, Hannah tells us that she doesn’t remember a life without T1D, but she’s grateful that technology is allowing her to live a life less burdened by the disease.
“It doesn’t define me, but just something I happen to live with. I can still do everything I want to do to the fullest.”