Sophia, 18, is one of 520,000 British Columbians living with diabetes. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after her third birthday, Sophia has spent most of her life managing this chronic condition.
For people living with diabetes, measuring and tracking glucose levels is critical to manage their condition effectively and to avoid serious health complications such as heart disease and kidney damage. For many, this means they use the traditional finger prick testing method, which is not only inconvenient, but also painful.
In general, young people living with diabetes struggle with glucose management. The social and emotional effects of living with type 1 diabetes are very real, and can lead individuals to experience burnout, depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that these stressors impact glucose management, up to 8 out of 10 children and teenagers struggle with frequent glucose monitoring and fail to meet their targeted glucose levels. For Sophia, having to prick her finger in front of others at school led her to develop social anxiety. As a child, she withdrew from others to avoid being judged, significantly impacting her mental health. And Sophia is not alone, studies show that teenagers do not want to test their glucose levels at school and often struggle with effective management.
Recently, Sophia switched to Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 2 flash glucose monitoring system§which offers real-time glucose readings through a sensor worn on the back of her upper arm. Now, she can simply scan the sensor with her smartphone* anytime† to get a glucose reading, eliminating the need for painful finger pricking¥.Today, Sophia says, “I don’t feel nervous or shy about scanning to check my glucose levels in public and overall, I’m feeling more mentally healthy as well.”
According to a global study conducted by Abbott in 2020, a diabetes diagnosis in the family can also cause distress and anxiety for the parents. For many, including Sophia’s mom, part of the stress comes from not being able to monitor their child when they are not physically with them.
When kids are in school or out with friends, the FreeStyle Libre 2 system gives parents peace-of-mind by allowing them to remotely monitor their children’s glucose levels through the LibreLinkUp app∞. With this digital health tool, Sophia’s mom accesses her glucose levels and receives alerts when her they are either high or low. For people living with type 1 diabetes, overnight lows can be very dangerous and people don’t always feel the symptoms because they are asleep. Sophia says, “My mom is hooked up to the LibreLinkUp app∞and likes getting the optional alarms. Now, if I’m sleeping, my mom will also hear the alarm, and she can wake me up and help me manage it.”
The FreeStyle Libre 2 system§ also empowers Sophia to make informed decisions by allowing her to look back at trends over the past 90 days. With a simple one second scan, Sophia can see her current glucose reading, an 8-hour history and trend arrows which show where her glucose levels have been, where they are now, and where they may be going. With that, Sophia has seen an improvement in her levels because of more thoughtful and timely self-management decisions based on her glucose data.
“The FreeStyle Libre 2 has changed my life. It helps me so much and I find I am monitoring more frequently now that I don’t have to prick my finger¥ multiple times a day,” says Sophia. If you think Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 2 flash glucose monitoring system could be beneficial for you or your child, talk to your doctor or visit myfreestyle.ca for more information.
This article was paid for by Abbott, a manufacturer of diabetes care products in Canada. This is an actual testimonial of a FreeStyle Libre 2 system user and Abbott has consent to use their story. Consent is on file with Abbott.
§ The FreeStyle Libre 2 flash glucose monitoring system is indicated for measuring interstitial fluid glucose levels in people aged 4 years and older with diabetes mellitus. Always read and follow the label/insert.
*The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Finger pricks are required if readings do not match symptoms or expectations. The FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor communicates with the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader that started it or the FreeStyle Libre 2 app that started it. The FreeStyle Libre 2 app is only compatible with certain mobile devices and operating systems. Please check the website for more information about device compatibility before using the app. Use of FreeStyle Libre 2 requires registration with LibreView.
† 60-minute warm-up required when applying the sensor.
¥ Finger pricks are required if readings do not match symptoms or expectations
∞The LibreLinkUp app is only compatible with certain mobile device and operating systems. Please check www.librelinkup.com for more information about device compatibility before using the app. Use of LibreLinkUp and FreeStyle LibreLink requires registration with LibreView. The LibreLinkUp mobile app is not intended to be a primary glucose monitor: home users must consult their primary device(s) and consult a healthcare professional before making any medical interpretation and therapy adjustments from the information provided by the app.