A small device has revolutionised the lives of those with type 1 diabetes, including the life of Burnie man Troy Wilkins.
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a technology where patients have a small filament inserted into the skin that sends a blood glucose reading to a monitor every five minutes, day and night.
Since trialing the technology through a grant from type 1 diabetes advocacy charity the Danii Foundation, Mr Wilkins said the device has saved his life by alerting him to dangerously low blood sugar levels.
“I had no idea before I started that my blood sugar levels were dropping critically low every single night,” he said.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which destroys the insulin-creating cells in the pancreas, leaving the patient to rely on daily insulin injections and around-the-clock monitoring. There is no known cause or cure.
While CGM offers the most effective and least intrusive way to monitor the condition and avoid “dead in bed syndrome”, Mr Wilkins said he won’t be able to continue after his trial because the cost is too high.
“I’m worried that I’m not going to wake up the next morning because I’m going to have low blood sugar overnight,” Mr Wilkins said.
The technology costs between $3500 and $6000 per year.
The Danii Foundation was involved in lobbying the federal government for funding of CGM for under 21 year olds.
I’m worried that I’m not going to wake up the next morning because I’m going to have low blood sugar overnight.- Troy Wilkins
Cofounder of the Danii Foundation, Donna Meads-Barlow, said the technology could have saved her daughter, Daniella, who died overnight in November 2011.
“We’ve got about 140,000 Australians living with type one diabetes and approximately 20,000 are under 21,” Mrs Meads-Barlow said.
“That’s still 120,000 not covered by the government funding.”
The foundation provides scholarships for educational cruises and for CGM trials for people, including Mr Wilkins.
“To see the transformation in his life and the help that he’s received is so gratifying, that is what keeps us so inspired to keep doing what we do,” she said.
DANII Foundation – www.danii.org.au
- To support people with type 1 diabetes, lobby government and industry to ensure latest technologies available and affordable to alert carer’s and parents to life threatening Blood glucose levels
- To make a difference, educate, advocate and support adults, children and teens living with type 1 diabetes
- To prevent “Dead in Bed” syndrome & Ketoacidosis (DKA)