Tuesday 9 February 2016

Abbott Freestyle Libre: Review

Abbott Freestyle Libre Review

Hi everyone!

Well it's fair to say I haven't blogged in quite awhile. I'll discuss why I've been slacking on my blog another time, but for now, I felt the need to write a quick post all about the new Abbott Freestyle Libre blood glucose monitor. If you're not diabetic, this blog post might not appeal to you, but if you are, I hope you can share my excitement over this new gadget.

So without further ado, I will give you a run-down of this device, sent from a magical realm to help you with your diabetes management.

Unlike me, you might have total control over your diabetes (type 1) and you might think "Chloe, I've got this, I don't need anyone's advice". If that's you, congratulations and please ignore this post. However, unfortunately, 11 years on and I'm still just as clueless as I was when I saw my first "HIGH" come up on the nurse's glucose monitor the day I got diagnosed.

I struggle with stabilising my glucose levels, or as I call them, my sugars. I've posted numerous blog posts on my diabetes management, and I think in more or less every one of them, I've talked about my inability and struggle to actually stabalise them. Leaving my house to go to work at 7 mmol/l? No can do, I'll panic about going low when driving and then I usually do go low...I tend to drop quite quickly.

So, what do I do? I over correct and glug down a glass of orange juice or crunch on a biscuit on the way out the door. Sometimes I'll have to sit and wait until my levels go up before I head out, which is a pain. What would I like to do? I'd like to be able to leave my house with my sugars at 7mmol/l and keep an eye on them while driving, or while walking down the road without having to do an invasive sugar test (which by the way, is slightly impossible when driving or walking).

What is the solution? There isn't one... or so I thought. Introducing Abbott Freestyle Libre. No, I am in no way sponsored or anything like that, so don't fear, I'm here to tell you the honest truth.

The truth? It's a dream come true. I know, I know, it's a bit lame to be so excited over a machine that tests my sugar levels. Leave me be!

This machine isn't your standard finger prick, test strip and wait 10 seconds for your results. Nope, this pocket sized device allows me to SCAN MY ARM and give me my sugar reading instantly. I kid you not.

Basically, you have a reader (touch screen, I know), a sensor and a sensor applicator. If you're a pump user, like myself, this application of this sensor is quite similar to the Medtronic Paradigm Quick-set Infuser, but far less painful. Pop the applicator on the back of your upper arm after you swipe with an alcohol wipe, and press down firmly. The needle shoots in (yes it does stay in your arm the whole time, but you'll get used to it, don't worry) and you're left with a white, two pence piece coin size sensor on the back of your arm.

Grab your reader and scan to calibrate the sensor (it takes 60 minutes for the reader to sync with the sensor). Each sensor lasts 14 days, after that, it no longer works and you need to remove it and replace with a new sensor.

The downside? It's expensive. If it's your first time purchasing it, on the Abbott website, you can buy the starter pack for £150 (or there about) but you receive tax relief on the final amount. Within the starter pack, you get the reader and two sensors (so, a month's supply).

You can then buy each sensor separately once you've used your starter pack. Each sensor separately is around £55 which is a quite a substantial amount for only two weeks supply. However, now I'm working, I'll hopefully be able to save up and use this more frequently. My glucose readings have significantly improved since using this as I'm able to check them 80 times per day if I wanted to (yes, I actually did that on my first day of using it!)

You can also sync this device up to your laptop and download the data, allowing you to see your trends and graphs on screen! Again, here I go getting excited over graphs and statistics, please don't mind me.

Anyway, that's enough for now but if you have any questions regarding this device, please feel free to drop me a comment, tweet or email and I'll get back to you!

Thank you for reading,

Chloe x