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Diabetes Epidemic 2018 Interview About FDA Approved Glucose Monitoring System Without Finger Sticks

Diabetes epidemic

The diabetes epidemic is one of the fastest growing epidemics worldwide, affecting over 400 million people. According to statistics, approximately 1 out of every 2 people suffering from diabetes remains undiagnosed and untreated. This is cause for grave concern because diabetes can result in severe health consequences if left untreated. November is National Diabetes Month, and in honor of National Diabetes Day on November 14th, we conducted this expert interview with diabetes educator, Amy Folker, regarding the recently FDA approved revolutionary glucose monitoring system and how it improves treatment for diabetics amidst the diabetes epidemic.


Tragically, the amount of people affected by diabetes who suffer from this condition on a daily basis has continued to skyrocket until medical professionals have begun referring to it as the diabetes epidemic. Even in the modern age of medicine with all the advancements of new technology, managing diabetes is still proving to be a daunting challenge. One of the biggest reasons for this is that diabetes management requires the unpleasant, painful, yet crucial finger sticking routine multiple times on a daily basis. In fact, more than 30 millions Americans with diabetes face this dreaded task up to 12 times every single day.

Studies Show Reasons For Glucose Monitoring Inconsistency Amongst Patients in Diabetes Epidemic

These routine finger sticks play a significant role in effective diabetes management. For decades, this routine has been the glucose testing standard, but the task’s unpleasantness has been responsible for the failure of most patients to consistently check their glucose levels throughout the day according to numerous studies. These studies (sourced at the bottom of the article) reveal the struggle that diabetic patients encounter in consistently adhering to their recommendations for glucose monitoring whether the reason is absentmindedness, painful finger sticks, or the cost of test strips. The grim prospect all study participants shared in common was an increased risk for major health complications as a result of failing to consistently monitor their glucose levels on a daily basis.

FDA Approves Revolutionary Glucose Monitoring System - FreeStyle Libre 14 day

Fortunately for diabetics everywhere, the FDA recently approved a revolutionary glucose monitoring system called the FreeStyle Libre 14 day. This device will allow Americans with diabetes to safely and effectively manage their glucose levels without the use of the dreaded finger stick for up to 14 days.

In honor of World Diabetes Day on November 14th, I had the distinct honor and privilege of conducting an interview with diabetes educator, Amy Folker, and type 1 diabetes patient, Reny Partain, highlighting the benefits of recent advancements in diabetes management. Their clinical and first-hand experience provides valuable and practical insights for those living with diabetes.

Interview with Diabetes Educator and Type 1 Diabetes Patient

Kaitlin: Diabetes is one of the fastest growing epidemics affecting more than 400 million people worldwide. Joining us today is type one diabetes patient Reny Partain and diabetes educator, Amy Folker, to talk about the benefits of the recent advancements in diabetes management, including an FDA recently approved revolutionary glucose monitoring system called the FreeStyle Libre 14 day. They'll also share both clinical and firsthand experience for those living with the condition. Welcome! Amy, can you tell us a little bit about diabetes and the burden people living with this condition regularly face?

Amy Folker: Oh, thanks for having me. Yes, when you have diabetes, your body can't regulate the glucose level properly. So the burden falls to the person with diabetes to really help manage their glucose level, to monitor their glucose level, and to really pay attention to things that increase and decrease glucose levels such as food and stress that can increase the glucose level and activities (or exercise and medication) that help to bring it back down. So people do need to monitor, they need to pay attention, they need to try their best to keep their glucose levels in that target range. It's a lot of work.

Kaitlin: Why is it important for people with diabetes to monitor their glucose level?

Amy Folker: Really it's important to monitor your glucose level because glucose levels that are too high or too low are really a problem. You really have to kind of find that target area. Low glucose levels are a problem right then and there, and people need to do something very quickly to raise their glucose level (such as having a half a cup of juice or half a can of regular soda), but on the other end, glucose levels that remain too high over long periods of time can lead to damage throughout the body. It can increase your risk for heart attacks, for strokes, for eye and kidney damage, and for nerve damage. It's a lot of complications that can actually be devastating if glucose levels are left out of control.

Kaitlin: Could you please tell us more about the continuous glucose monitor called the FreeStyle Libre 14 day that recently received FDA approval?

Amy Folker: This is really an exciting time for diabetes. There's so much new technology coming out and the Abbott FreeStyle Libre is one of those exciting new technologies. In the past, people have had to poke their finger in order to find out what their glucose level is. Now with this continuous glucose monitor, they can apply a sensor to the back of their arm and they can just take a little handheld sensor or their phone actually to swipe it over the sensor and find out what their glucose level is. The beauty of it is that they're able to test frequently with this. They can test as often as they want over the 14 days. They get all kinds of information, and it helps them to pay attention and make better decisions.

Kaitlin: That's fascinating. What are some of the challenges that come with the current methods of glucose monitoring?

Amy Folker: Well, I would say the one thing people really dislike about diabetes right now, if you asked a bunch of people with diabetes, is that they would say they don't like to poke their finger and in fact poking their finger prevents a lot of people from actually checking their glucose level. So this has taken those routine finger sticks out of the equation. Now people can find out what their glucose level is without having to draw any blood.

Kaitlin: Is there anything else you'd like to add today?

Reny Partain: Yes, this is Reny. I've been wearing the Abbott FreeStyle Libre for a number of months now, and it's really made a positive impact on the way that I'm able to manage my diabetes just because it gives you so much rich data, and it allows me to make better-informed decisions about how I'm managing my glucose levels. Plus it's something that I can easily share with my endocrinologist, which is really helpful because now I can partner with her, take all this data, and make some great action steps about how to improve it. I would really encourage anyone who's interested in learning more about FreeStyle Libre to go to the website, freestyle libre (dot) us, because there's a lot of great information on there for those that are interested.

Kaitlin: Oh, thank you, Reny, I have a whole bunch of questions to ask you next.

Reny Partain: Oh yeah!

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Kaitlin: I really appreciate your willingness to do this interview because I think it's really important for the general public to be more educated about this condition. What are some of the challenges associated with living with this condition for you personally?

Reny Partain: For me, living with type one diabetes, one of the most challenging things is just there are so many things that impact my glucose level and they can change day to day. So that means that I have to be very prepared and really flexible in the way that I tackle my diabetes management because things can change day to day, hour to hour, depending on how active I am, how stressed out I am, how early I wake up, what I'm doing. That's why I've been really excited about the FreeStyle Libre 14 day because it allows me to take one piece of the puzzle out. I'm not constantly carrying around all my testing supplies. I'm not having to stop what I'm doing in the middle of the day to check my blood sugar. I now just get to quickly swipe the sensor with the handheld reader to get that data really quickly, and it doesn't interrupt what I'm doing. I can just do it. I was just training for the Chicago Marathon, and it was great because I didn't have to stop running when I wanted to know what my glucose level was doing. I could actually swipe mid-stride which was really cool to see and really helped me out.

Kaitlin: Oh, I'm so glad it's helping you out so much, and that's really interesting that they have approved this new technology. What advice would you give to someone who has recently been diagnosed?

Reny Partain: For someone who's been recently diagnosed with diabetes I would first just recognize that it can feel really overwhelming at first. You're given so much information to learn, and there are so many new things you have to start doing. It can definitely feel like a lot. The things that have made a big difference for me is reaching out to the diabetes community. There's a great group of people out there, and it's really nice to have support from people who kind of understand what it's like. If you're a caregiver, or for other caregivers that are taking care of people with diabetes, it makes a big difference. Then the other piece of it is just that the technology is getting better and better. So things are getting easier. We're getting better data, and it's technology like the Abbott FreeStyle Libre that's really making a difference in the way that I tackle my management, and I'm really excited to see kind of how we keep improving moving forward.

Kaitlin: Where can people go for more information?

Reny Partain: The best place to go to learn more would be the website: freestyle libre (dot) us.

Kaitlin: Ok. Thank you. Is there anything else you'd like to add today?

Amy Folker: We just want to say that it’s National Diabetes Month, and we hope everybody with diabetes really pays attention and does what they can to take control of their diabetes.

Kaitlin: Thank you so much! That concludes our interview for today. I really appreciate such informative information. I'm sure this interview will help to raise awareness and educate the public regarding diabetes. We appreciate your willingness to conduct this interview today. Thank you so much!

Reny Partain and Amy Folker: Thanks so much! Thanks, Kaitlin!


In conclusion, during National Diabetes Month, we must raise awareness about this disease especially now that it has become a diabetes epidemic. Public education about diabetes is vitally important because there may be more Americans at risk for this disease than many of us realize. If you or a loved one is suffering from diabetes, the Abbott FreeStyle Libre 14 day glucose monitoring system can help by making life easier and more manageable for diabetics. To learn more about this revolutionary device, please click here.


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