FreeStyle Libre Prevents Diabetics From Having To Prick Their Finger
Paloma Kemak was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 23-years-old and for the past several years she’s struggled with managing her blood sugar and even admits to neglecting her health because she hates having to prick her finger all the time. That’s all changed because she recently became the first Hispanic type 1 diabetes patient to try a device called the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, which was just approved in the U.S. by the FDA.
It may seem like she was diagnosed with diabetes young, but for type 1 diabetes, which is often referred to as juvenile diabetes, she was actually diagnosed late. This insulin-dependent diabetes is a chronic condition that causes the pancreas to stop working, so it stops producing insulin. “I started feeling extremely thirsty and I was drinking like 10 water bottles a day which made me go to the bathroom all the time and I was tired of this cycle because something was obviously not right,” she says. She Googled her symptoms and diabetes came up and the first thing she thought was why this was happening to her because she didn’t eat many sweets, yet she was feeling extremely fatigued and had no idea why she lacked energy. “I never thought I would be sick enough to see a doctor,” explains Kemak who didn’t have health insurance prior to being diagnosed. “ In my Latino household, you don’t see a doctor unless it’s an absolute emergency.”
Her doctor diagnosed her with type 1 diabetes because her pancreas was no longer making insulin, so she had to learn how to manage her own insulin intake and blood glucose levels, which are normally handled by the pancreas. “Right away I had to start with all the needles and the pricking and I started insulin that same night,” she says. She hated that she had to prick her finger to check her blood glucose. “Just the inconvenience and the thought of having to prick my finger–I hardly ever even did it. Even when I continued to feel sick, I would rather feel sick than continue to prick my finger.” Who could blame her, when she had to prick herself 8 to 10 times a day.
Kemak has a great diabetes blog called Glitter Glucose where she talks about her personal experience with this disease. She connects with other type 1 diabetics on a variety of issues and has followers in the UK and Canada, which is how she learned about the FreeStyle Libre. “I saw my European followers wearing this device and I was super interested in it and I did my research and it wasn’t available in the U.S. at the time.” It wasn’t until just recently that the device got approved by the FDA and she knew she had to try it.