FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System Approved!

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 6.48.50 PM.pngAfter distribution in 40 countries around the world – finally – the FDA approves this competitive glucose monitoring system in the U.S.

I’ve used the Libre “Flash” twice. Once when my sister in law smuggled the system to me from Holland. That was 2015 and I wrote about it here. Unfortunately, everything was in Dutch and our blood sugar mg/dl measurements were in the European system, mmol/l, but I got the gist. I used the “Flash” a second time in Israel this past January. I felt the system was more accurate the second time around. I don’t know whether that’s true or not. Its accuracy is on par with Dexcom.

I am a Dexcom user. I have the G5. I’m also a fan of the Libre. It is so easy to insert, is so small and thin and requires no calibration. That’s no finger sticks unless you want to check yourself on your meter. Which of course I advise whenever you’re not sure the number on your Libre makes sense.

The Libre has been approved for 10 day wear. Now here I feel cheated. Everywhere else in the world it’s approved for 14 days. And, while we’ve figured out how to “under the radar” extend the life of a 7-day Dexcom sensor, I don’t think the same is possible with the Libre sensor.

That said, the Libre fits better with my lifestyle. I’m a very routine person and so I don’t see the need to, or use my Dexcom day to day. I work at home where I control my food. I eat mostly the same things day to day, exercise the same way, an hour walk in the morning, and so my numbers are fairly predictable. Well, as predictable as blood sugar numbers can be.

I tend to use my Dexcom when I travel – for obvious reasons – I’m out of my routine. The problem though with Dexcom is I can’t use it intermittently. Once you start a Dexcom transmitter it runs for 90 days. Period, and then shuts off. So while I may need it for two weeks in May, I may not need it again until August. By then, the transmitter’s dead and I need a new transmitter which on my insurance isn’t cheap.

The Libre, however, is a sensor that runs 10 days. Each 10 day session starts anew. Much easier for my needs, although whether it’s covered on my health insurance will be key.

Freestyle Libre should be available before the end of the year. Abbott is working to get insurance coverage, until they do the reader (device you swipe over the sensor to see your numbers with about a 3 year lifespan) will cost about $69 and each sensor about $70.

For full coverage of the Libre and its journey to market take a look at Mike Hoskins’ great report today on DiabetesMine.

Forest bathing, proven to improve health

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I spent my birthday a few weeks ago at my friend’s house in a small suburban city an hour above Manhattan. His house is plentiful with big glass windows and doors and all you see when you look out of them are trees, and sometimes critters like deer, rabbits and turkeys.

Being surrounded by trees (no animals required) is called forest-bathing. Really. There’s a name for being around tons of trees – and it’s healthy. Of course it is. I always knew, city kid that I am, that visiting my Aunt in Maryland eons ago, when we finally drove off the turnpike and the landscape became green, and I was enveloped by trees, I breathed differently. Deeper. It made me more relaxed, more restful. It made me calmer and happier. Actually, it made me more in touch with myself.

I know there are people who feel this way on the beach, but I’m a tree-girl. If you want to read more about forest bathing and the real phenomena that it is, click here.

Leave it to the Japanese to actually name it. Now I’m sure they’re working on a way to miniaturize it and have it delivered by a robot.