Diabetes technology can change lives for the better and can vastly improve your diabetes care. But it’s certainly not for everyone.
Being emotionally ready to use diabetes technology is just as important as learning how it works. It’s not a quick fix for better diabetes management, and it’s not an easy option.
We’ve put together four things to think about if you’re considering using tech:
“In May 2015, I started using an insulin pump after approximately 85,000 injections. It is amazing technology but not perhaps the enormous improvement I was expecting. It’s quite hard being attached 24/7, but my control is so much improved compared to in my childhood days.”
- Peter, living with Type 1 diabetes
Whether you’re moving on to an insulin pump or have been given a prescription for a flash glucose monitor (we call it Flash for short), remember that any improvement is unlikely to happen straight away.
It’s really important to remember that technology is only a tool to help you manage your diabetes, not a magic wand. It won’t improve your blood sugars on its own. It’s up to you to use the technology to help you reach your individual blood sugar targets. If you go into using technology thinking it’ll do it all for you, you might end up feeling disheartened.
Devices such as the continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is constantly recording your sugar levels. This gives you a very deep insight into how your day-to-day life affects your levels.
But getting this amount of data can feel overwhelming. People can become preoccupied with it. And if the data isn’t trending the right way it can be really tough.
So it’s important to think through how you’re going to feel about getting a lot of data that you’ve not had before. And talk through with your doctor or nurse how best to manage it.
For some people, the amount of information they get from technology can make diabetes feel more relentless.
Some people experience something called diabetes distress when they feel overwhelmed by the relentlessness of diabetes, and this can lead to diabetes burnout. These feelings are understandable, but they can mean that you stop taking care of yourself and your diabetes so it’s important to get support.
If you think you might be experiencing this, we have more information and support about diabetes distress and burnout to help you.
If your blood sugars are trending up, even when you’re trying hard to maintain the right levels, it can mean you want to ignore them. This is a common reaction, but it can make your risk of diabetes complications higher. This can make you feel even more anxious or distressed – it can become a cycle of negative thoughts.
As uncomfortable as pricking your fingers and injecting insulin can be, there is the added benefit of not having to worry about them in between treatments.
If you have an insulin pump or a Flash sensor, then they will be attached to you almost all of the time. This can sometimes feel like a burden. Some people feel this way when they’re doing exercise, for example.
It might not bother you at all, but it’s worth keeping in mind when you’re deciding whether to use tech or not.
Taking all of these factors into account, here are a few things to think about to help you feel prepared for tech:
- How you’re going to manage the amount of data – think about how you can you make sure it’s useful, but not overwhelming.
- What your expectations of using technology are – it’s good to have all the facts and be realistic about what it can do.
- How you might feel having the technology attached to you all the time – think about whether it might cause issues with exercise, or change how you feel about your body.
Talk these things through with your healthcare professional. Feeling emotionally ready for technology is just as important as learning how to use it.
Remember we’re always hear to talk. If you’re unsure about technology or have questions, you can talk it through on our helpline.