Melissa Bordage was at work when she received an alert on her phone, and she knew that her eight-year-old son Ethan, who has type 1 diabetes, was at risk of a rapid decline in his glucose levels.
Melissa and Ethan were not together – Ethan was playing with friends outside his school – but because her smartphone received an alert on her Dexcom Follow app†, she could swing into action.
“I contacted his teacher and told them Ethan was in the schoolyard playing and that I’d been alerted that his sugars were falling. They were then able to check his Dexcom G6 app and treat him right away,”* says Ms. Bordage.
“His CGM device and the apps that support it have given our family so much more peace of mind,” she says. “It has been a game changer for the way we manage Ethan’s diabetes.”
Ms. Bordage is a pediatric nurse, and her family lives in Quispamsis, near Saint John, New Brunswick. When Ethan was diagnosed at age six, her medical knowledge prepared her for the challenges ahead – the complexities of monitoring and managing her son’s sugar levels every day.
At first, Ethan’s regimen involved multiple finger sticks a day and testing his sugar levels with a blood glucose meter. He was just starting Grade 1, and while he was in class, he was supported by an educational assistant who had been taught how to test and treat him.
“The school would contact us for low and high levels, but otherwise, I didn’t know how he was doing throughout the day, and it was stressful,” says Ms. Bordage. “Even when I was with him, I often couldn’t tell what his sugars were doing until he said, ‘Mom, I feel low,’ or ‘I don’t feel well.’”
All that changed when Ethan began using the Dexcom G6 CGM system, which tracks his glucose levels continuously, day and night. It takes readings at regular intervals and shows not only the current glucose level but where it is heading and how quickly it is changing.
The glucose data can be sent wirelessly every five minutes to a smartphone or other smart device‡. An adult managing their diabetes can use their phone to have near-constant awareness of their glucose readings and their trends. And a parent like Melissa Bordage can monitor their child’s readings and trends remotely, through the Follow App†.
“New digital technologies such as CGM have transformed diabetes management in ways that are not only simplifying the lives of people with diabetes but are helping people with diabetes stay healthier,” says Laura Endres, vice president and general manager, Dexcom Canada.
“With the Dexcom G6 automatically transmitting glucose levels to smart devices, people with diabetes can live their lives and not have that burden of always worrying about their diabetes,” says Ms. Endres.
“They know the information is there when they need it, and they have alerts and alarms that will inform them if they are getting into a situation that needs attention,” she says. “They also have insight into how their meals, their medications and their exercise affect their glucose levels.”
Before these advanced technologies became available, people with diabetes had to juggle a series of manual steps to test their sugars, and they didn’t have the complete picture on their “time in range,” says Ms. Endres.
“Time in range is a very important measure for people with diabetes; it refers to glucose levels that are in that safe zone. More research is proving how important achieving these targets is for long-term health, to help prevent diabetes-related complications. It’s also important for day-to-day health; for example, helping people to avoid hypoglycemia (below-normal sugar levels).”
Dexcom has built what they call their Warrior community – people who use their CGM and who share their experiences in various forums. “Our Warriors are also among those patients who give us feedback on new features that would help them, and that informs our research into future enhancements to our technologies,” says Ms. Endres.
Melissa Bordage says she is an enthusiastic member of the Warrior community. "We want to share our story of how impactful CGM has been for Ethan, allowing us to manage his diabetes more easily and effectively.
“We very much want other parents to discover how much better life can be with more peace of mind.”
Learn more about Melissa Bordage and her son Ethan’s story.
*If your glucose alerts and readings from the Dexcom G6 do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions.
†Internet connectivity required for data sharing. Following requires the use of the Follow App. Followers should always confirm readings on the Dexcom G6 app or Receiver before making treatment decisions.
‡To view a list of compatible devices, go to dexcom.com/compatibility.
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.