Free Style Libre Sensors 1 and 2
The Freestyle Libre 1 is the variation of this brand of Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGM) that collect glucose readings from interstitial fluid (ISF), a thin layer of fluid that surrounds the cells of tissues under your skin which is then scanned by an NFC device to receive a reading (please refer to the user manual for compatibility info). The sensor is worn and active for 14 days per and is water resistant to up to 1 meter of water for a maximum of 30 minutes (submerged), meaning day-to-day activities such as bathing or swimming will not affect the sensor, it is interesting to note that Abbot state “Not to be used above 10,000 feet”, this suggests that during a commercial flight your sensor may lack in accuracy or may be required by the airline to keep NFC devices switched off during flight, it is unclear, however, it is made clear that you need to contact any airport before travelling for information on their policies for diabetic care essentials as policies can be updated at any time.
According to Abbott Labs (Registered Company Name), their sensor lags behind the traditional finger prick test by 2.4 minutes in adults.
The sensor when applied is designed to be as discrete as possible, with a thickness of 5mm and a diameter of 35mm and is fixed in place by a pre-applied water-resistant plaster for 14 days which is the maximum use term of 1 sensor, after the 14 days the sensor can easily be removed by peeling the plaster off, before you apply the sensor depending on your body you might want to shave the back of your arm before application of the sensor as removal hairs under the sensor’s plaster will not be painless.
Lastly in the kit, you will also receive a Freestyle Libre Reader, which reads data off of your sensor in place of your phone if you do not want to use your phone for reading your glucose, furthermore, the Reader also comes with Finger Prick testing capabilities however you will need to purchase the Blood Glucose testing strips from your local pharmacy or from www.freestylelibre.com for more options on where to buy testing strips for your location.
As someone who has used both versions of Freestyle Libre for 4 years, I will be providing you with my personal experience of using the sensors and how they affected my everyday life and my A1c, however, before detailing this, I feel that understanding the reasons behind why I chose this line product, to begin with.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in my early 20s with little to no knowledge of the disease itself, the first 24 months after diagnosis I managed to keep an A1c of 9mmol/L with little regard for hypos and the potential danger behind them as I had only ever experienced them 3 to 4 times over 2 years with the worst of them being 2.9mmol/L, admittingly my A1c at that time was not the best, by my second year with T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) I managed to get my A1c down to 7.2mmol/L which was quite surprising. So with a decent A1c the topic of continuous –
monitoring glucose monitoring systems was suggested to me as a way to assist in monitoring my sugars for a better understanding of what my peaks are after meals and most importantly what my blood sugar readings look overnight the main goal behind using the sensor would be to gather data on my peaks and lows and try to lower those fluctuations in an attempt to simulate normal pancreatic function, as opposed to continuing to use typical methods of diabetes treatment. In the figure shown you can see an example of the interface you will see when the Libre App is displaying your blood sugars or more accurately your interstitial fluid, you will notice an area on the graph which is highlighted green which represents the figure blood glucose levels between 4.0mmol/L and 8.0mmol/L above the graph you will notice a couple of small icons, one that looks like an apple which represents meals/snacks/drinks that simply gives you the option to input the number of Carbohydrates in grams that you have had, and the other an injection which when opened has 2 options Long-Acting Insulin and Fast-Acting Insulin and allows you to input a value up to 10000 “units” although it’s highly advised against doing so, there are 2 more which are not shown that represent Exercise which has 3 options light, moderate and heavy exercise all of which allow you to input a duration in Minuets and Hours, and lastly Notes which simply provides you with a text box to write in.
Wearing the sensor for 14 days on the back of your arm can take some time to get used to, especially the first 2/3 days after applying a new sensor you can feel a small scratching sensation at the sensor site, in some small cases you may bleed a small amount through a small drainage hole in the sensor.
Over 25 months of using their sensor, I can say it is safe to assume that the lag is actually behind by 15 minutes at times, furthermore, reliability when exercising intensely may vary. From my experience, moderate to hard workouts lifting weights or running can result in very inconsistent readings between your sensor and finger prick test in this regard it is strongly advised you rely on your finger prick test for accuracy and safety.
As one of the cheaper options available on the market (approx. £60 per sensor at the time of writing) the Libre Freestyle sensor is a good Segway device for people who may feel uncomfortable with the idea of having something stuck on them for prolonged periods, as it is a very small and discrete sensor in comparison to some other options on the market.
I am very new to blog writing and would appreciate any feedback, please leave any comments, ideas or inquiries for more information below and I will do my best to update the blog or just respond to comments.
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