Life would be a lot easier if everything occurred according to plan. There would be no technical glitches, schedule changes, or inconveniences. Blood sugars would be wonderfully predictable. But as we all know, life doesn’t work that way. To the credit of the diabetes community, we have developed some very creative methods for dealing with the challenges that life throws our way. We call these “Diabetes Hacks”.
One of the first hacks I discovered soon after my diagnosis was that you could fill a syringe with insulin and put it in a toothbrush holder to keep it safe until you need it. Back in the 90s, we pioneered the use of basal insulin dose increases for offsetting the long-term effects of high-fat meals. Empty detergent bottles make great sharps containers (empty test strip vials can do the same while traveling). Urine glucose test strips are perfect for identifying a “regular” soda compared to a diet version. I personally love the creative method of using one’s fist as a measuring tool for estimating food portion sizes. And perhaps the greatest and most sophisticated of all hacks is the development of a DIY automated insulin delivery system (Loop, OpenAPS) using pumps and sensors that are already on the market.
One of the nice things about working with a practice like ours is that all of our clinicians (who live with T1D personally) appreciate and support the use of diabetes hacks. For the ones we didn’t develop on our own, we evaluate them as a team before recommending them. Our latest foray into the hackosphere involves the use of small doses of glucagon for preventing hypoglycemia during & after exercise, as well as treating everyday lows. Since this is considered “off-label” (non-FDA-approved) use of glucagon, it is not something that we recommend to everyone. But it is certainly part of the consultation process that we are happy to share with our clients. Given the challenging nature of diabetes management, hacks aren’t just a convenience. They’re often a necessity. So don’t be a hack. Use them!
I hope you enjoy this month’s edition of Diabetes Bites – full of the usual news updates, activities, and insights from our clinical crew. Your feedback is always appreciated!
As always, if you need any help with your diabetes, from a complete overhaul to a simple tune-up, please reach out.