Living with diabetes: How technology is changing the way we treat this disease



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November is diabetes Awareness Month in fact you may remember shazadi deji was on the show talking about world Diabetes Day which was yesterday it is a disease as we mentioned yesterday that impacts so many of us in fact more than 3 million Canadians currently are living with diabetes and that’s nearly 10% of

The country and there are even more who don’t even know that they have it and joining us this morning is Vanessa Oliver who has been living with type 1 diabetes for the past 38 years Vanessa so good to see you good morning and thanks for coming in this morning good

Morning thank you guys for having me making the time and shedding some light on Diabetes this morning well let’s talk about your journey first off because you were diagnosed when you were only 6 years old yes uh 6 years old that was way back in uh August of

1985 uh and I still remember a more than you’d think about that day it being so long ago but uh I remember it being the the first time ever seeing my parents cry and cry a lot uh and I remember getting to sick kids and hearing the word diabetes diabetes diabetes over and

Over again and for a six-year-old what really stuck out to me was the Die part and I remember the fear and the sadness of thinking well is this am I going to be dying uh so yeah some fairly strong memories despite it being so long ago

And that brings back memories for me as well because my best friend at the time we were just a few years older than you when she got her diagnosis and I was at her house at the time when the hospital called and said you need to um I

Remember they said we need to speak to your mom and spoke to the mom and said you got to get to the hospital immediately and I remember I went to the hospital with them we we were you know we were always together at everything and I remember being so scared as well

We were both so scared of hearing what she was being diagnosed with and even watching you as we were saying how many many years you’ve had since your diagnosis you were just watching your face just go can you believe it’s been that long I can’t believe it’s been that

Long I mean it yeah it’s it’s 38 years is a really long time it’s too long and let’s talk of the impact the that diabetes has had on your life it’s it’s tell us it’s every day it’s it’s you’re exactly right it’s every day I think on

The outside most of us with type one look like most other people but this is a 24 seven disease and we’re constantly needing to monitor our glucose levels and those can be impacted from uh lack of sleep from everything that you eat uh from exercise from

Emotions uh so it’s I mean the impact is is huge it’s it’s basically everything and every day yeah now in the 38 years since you’ve been diagnosed technology has obviously come Leaps and Bounds can you uh tell us a bit about some of the advancements that you have seen maybe

What is the biggest change that you’ve seen oh go I mean thank goodness for all of the advancements for the fundraising to to push that research forward um you know the biggest is is definitely how you administer insulin with insulin pumps but also about managing glucose levels uh when when I was first

Diagnosed it was about pricking your finger um you know we’ve got the blood pricking device here the test strips uh so I would have to prick my finger with a Lancet you know let’s say up to 10 times a day get blood put the blood on

The strip um and then you would get a snapshot of what your blood sugar was so the unicorn of all blood sugars is 5.5 so you’d know in this instant I’m 5.5 today we have uh continuous glucose monitors I use the uh Dexcom G7 uh so this is it right here tiny I

Insert this totally painless to go in and to keep on and it’s it’s in me for 10 days so one poke this attached s to your phone right so you can constantly monitor it links to my phone and I get blood sugars 24/7 it’s a 24/7 disease

I’ve got access to blood sugars 247 the other thing that’s so amazing about it is the arrows so right now you can see I’m 5.9 good blood sugar I should come on your show more often um and uh I’ve got a stable Arrow going and so that is

So impactful with how you make the decisions to dose for insulin to try to keep you in within the Lines within the the perfect blood sugar range yeah listen we only got about 30 seconds but what advice would you give somebody who’s watching right now who’s been

Diagnosed with a diabetes that’s an easy one to answer the first one is build community find other people like you uh because the bond that can be created from people that share that common uh challenge is is really impacting ful the second is be open-minded it’s a a lot to

Deal with this disease and so change can feel intimidating but you know for those still pricking their fingers and not using technology like the Dexcom G7 give it a try it has been an absolute GameChanger in my life and management with diabetes awesome and remain hopeful

Hopeful because as you said just as you you’ve been living with it for 37 years just as you feel like you’re about to break and advancement happens it happens and this is keeping us healthier for when we get to that cure which is hopefully right around the corner all

Right Vanessa thank you so much it’s great to meet you and thanks for coming in thank you both so much as well this portion of the morning show is brought to you by Dexcom G7 for more information visit

Vanessa Oliver, who has been living with Type 1 diabetes for 38 years, joins ‘The Morning Show’ hosts Jeff McArthur and Carolyn Mackenzie to discuss the profound changes to diabetes treatment brought on by technological innovations.

Oliver was diagnosed in 1985 when she was six years old. She calls it a 24-7 disease because of the constant need to monitor glucose levels.

“This is a 24-7 disease and we’re constantly needing to monitor our glucose levels, and those can be impacted from lack of sleep, from everything that you eat, from exercise, from emotions,” she says.

On the other hand, Oliver says technological innovations have made it easier to both administer insulin and monitor glucose levels — making diabetes a much less daunting diagnosis.

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