For people living with type 1 diabetes, blood glucose (sugar) monitoring is an essential part of daily life. For Yukoners of all ages, life has just gotten much better with expanded public funding for advanced glucose monitoring devices.
The standard way of monitoring blood glucose involves obtaining a drop of blood from a finger prick several times a day, and this can be painful and challenging, particularly for kids in school and those in workplaces without ready access to their supplies and a safe location. Thanks to advanced glucose monitoring technology, more convenient and reliable ways to monitor glucose levels are now available.
The Yukon government is leading the way in expanding access to these new options. Yukon was the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide coverage for continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to youth 18 and younger with type 1 diabetes. Now, Yukon again leads the nation by providing adults with type 1 diabetes a choice of the technology that best meets their individual medical needs, either a CGM or a flash glucose monitoring device.
Regular glucose monitoring is considered a critical part of effective type 1 diabetes management. Advanced glucose monitoring devices provide more detailed information about how eating different foods, taking medication such as insulin, being physically active and other factors affect glucose levels. Armed with this information, people living with type 1 diabetes can avoid life-threatening emergencies such as dangerously low blood glucose (severe hypoglycemia), or low blood sugar, which can be a life-threatening complication of diabetes.
A flash glucose monitoring system uses an externally worn glucose sensor with a small filament inserted under the skin of a person’s upper arm. When the sensor is scanned with a separate touchscreen reader device, it transmits the glucose reading and information on the most recent eight-hour trend to the reader. If the person with diabetes performs at least three sensor scans per day, at approximately eight-hour intervals, the flash glucose monitor can record 24-hour glucose profiles.
CGMs provide an alert when blood glucose levels are trending low. This is particularly advantageous for children and adults who do not recognize the symptoms of rapid glucose changes. The alarms enable parents, caregivers and school staff to help treat low blood glucose before it becomes an emergency. This is particularly beneficial through the night for individuals with diabetes who do not wake up without an alarm to treat low blood glucose. CGMs also provide thorough and accurate measurements that support a more complete picture of glucose levels versus moment-in-time snapshots derived from intermittent finger-prick testing. As such, the use of CGMs can lead to better short- and long-term treatment decisions and health outcomes.
“CGMs are a powerful tool in glucose management,” affirms Marney Paradis, president of the Yukon T1D Support Network. “These tools can help reduce glucose variability and contribute to time in range (percentage of time within glucose target levels), which are not only essential to staying in good health but are critical to maintaining an individual’s active involvement in the workforce.”
The Yukon T1D Support Network played a critical role in advocating for all Yukoners living with type 1 diabetes, regardless of age, to have coverage for CGMs. To ensure access, they even approached industry to sponsor CGMs for individuals. “We had always argued that CGMs were essential for on-the-job safety, especially in heavy-duty construction and trades,” says Ms. Paradis. “Yukon industry and business strongly emphasize safe work environments, so they were quick to step up to the plate and see CGMs for what they are: an investment in workplace safety.”
Through such efforts, Yukon has blazed a path that provides its citizens access to technologies proven to help better manage blood glucose, avoid medical emergencies and reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
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Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.