The Most Significant Advance In Diabetes Care Since Insulin
Prevention and Treatment Jack Poisson was always a happy and healthy kid, but in May 2013 his life was turned upside down by a Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Now new technology is allowing him to live his life to the fullest − and is giving his parents great peace of mind.
ack is a healthy, active 13-year-old who lives with his sister, Annie, and their parents, Alissa and Ken, in Windsor, ON. He loves playing hockey and soccer, and spends his free time skateboarding with friends. The Type 1 diabetes diagnosis was incredibly difficult for Jack and his family.
Jack and his parents began monitoring Jack’s blood glucose levels several times a day by using a blood glucose meter. This enabled them to track and control his levels but offered incomplete data. A year passed before the Poissons learned about a new kind of technology that monitors glucose levels in real-time and offers trend information on where glucose levels are heading.
Can be a safety net for those living with Type 1 diabetes
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a small wearable device that tracks glucose levels 24-hours a day, alerting the patient when their blood sugars begin to trend high or low.
“It’s a huge safety net for me as a mom,” says Alissa. “We used to be kept up at night, worrying that Jack could die in his sleep going low. But now there’s an alarm that gives me peace of mind. And Jack loves that we’re more open to the idea of sleepovers now!”
“I believe CGM is the single most significant advance in diabetes care since the discovery of insulin,” says Dr. Angelo Simone, Paediatric Endocrinologist at Trillium Health Partners and Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto.
“CGM technology provides not only a real-time snapshot of glucose levels
but more importantly trend information on where glucose levels are headed. This allows the ability to predict and prevent both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia before they occur−with a high degree of accuracy
An inspirational encounter
In 2014, Jack met endurance athlete Sébastien Sasseville, who also lives with Type 1 diabetes. Despite his condition, Sasseville has completed six Ironman Triathlons, run the Sahara Race, climbed Mount Everest, and, most recently, ran across Canada from east to west − a 7,200 kilometre journey, the equivalent of 170 marathons.
Sasseville undertook his epic journey to highlight what people with diabetes can achieve. Jack and Sébastien met during the Ontarian leg of Sasseville’s journey.
The encounter inspired Jack, normally a shy child, to give a presentation on diabetes in front of his entire school and to start fundraising for the cause. He even forwent birthday gifts in favour of donations. Later that year, he and his parents flew out to Vancouver to surprise Sébastien and the pair ran the last leg of Sasseville’s trans-Canada journey together.
“To run those last steps with Jack was just pure bliss,” says the athlete. Sasseville also uses a CGM device and says it was the most important tool he had during his run across Canada.
“Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated the ability of CGM technology to decrease the risk of hypoglycemia in all age groups,” says Dr. Simone. CGM technology can be used by both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, and integrates with whatever method of insulin therapy the patient uses.
He adds that the technology has come a long way since early models were first made available in Canada. In fact, the world’s first iOS-compatible CGM system will come to Canada in January 2017 − the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM.
The gold standard for accuracy, the Dexcom G5 is also Canada’s first CGM to be approved for use in place of blood glucose fingersticks for dosing insulin in most situations. And iOS compatibility means that users can not only view real-time glucose data and trends on their devices − but share that data, including trends and alarms, with parents and loved ones. For the Poissons, this means Jack’s parents can know whether his levels are where they should be, even while Jack is away at camp or at a sleepover.
CGM is a powerful technology that is allowing people like Jack and Sébastien to live their lives to the fullest.
Jack continues to play sports and, inspired by Sasseville’s achievements, the 13-year-old is contemplating running across Ontario to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes. As for Jack’s parents, Alissa and Ken can finally have a full night’s sleep knowing Jack is in good health and able to chase his dreams.