s with all of you, I am sure, the potential of an artificial pancreas that will take away much of the tedium of type 1 diabetes management is such an incredible dream close to coming true. Studies have been completed using systems in controlled situations such as hospital settings, in free-living adults, with children in overnight camping environments and last winter, with children skiing and snowboarding!
Recently at an ADA camp I attended, several of the campers and counselors were utilizing the systems in a research study and I found it so impressive! What an amazing revolution for individuals who, day in and day out, check blood glucose 6-8 times per day, adjust, think like a pancreas, and still find their educated guesses put them outside the goal limits – resulting in frustration and at times self-blame for BGs out of the norm.
I am ready for the day when the artificial pancreas is the norm, so that patients can relax a little.
Just today one of my very focused patients, with both an insulin pump and sensor and amazing diabetes management skills, asked that I not judge her on last night as her BG fell to less than 40 mg/dl after a day of river rafting, only to escalate to 300 mg/dl hours after multiple treatments in an effort to increase her BG to greater than 70 mg/dl. How could I possibly not appreciate her thoroughness in checking, treating and following up with more checks throughout the night to see if her lifesaving glucose treatments were the right guess?
In the July issue of Diabetes Care, nine articles address the artificial pancreas projects throughout the globe. When I reviewed the program for the upcoming AADE16 meeting in San Diego I was delighted to see several sessions dedicated to the discussion of the artificial pancreas – particularly the session titled “Anticipating the Availability of the Artificial Pancreas Systems: What to Expect in the Clinic.” This is a question I often ask myself. So what will be our role, as diabetes educators, in transitioning our patients from the present system to embracing the new technology of the artificial pancreas?
I am ready for the day when the artificial pancreas is the norm, so that patients can relax a little, knowing that their BG is being looked after by yet another – even if it is “just” an artificial -- pancreas. So until there is a cure... march forward researchers – I can hardly wait.
About the Author:
Carla Cox is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She has been a certified diabetes educator for over 25 years, and served as an assistant adjunct professor for 14 years, teaching in areas of sports nutrition and exercise physiology. Currently she works in Missoula, Montana as a diabetes educator in both in- and outpatient settings.