Type 1 Diabetes is all about numbers-number of carbohydrates, measurements of food, blood sugar levels, and hemoglobin A1C. Numbers are critical information used to make decisions about insulin administration.
Fortunately, we live in an age where amazing technology is available to help better manage type 1 diabetes-but a cure is what we all hope and long for! One of these life changing devices is called a CGM or continuous glucose monitor. These small devices are worn on the body and check blood sugar continuously and blood sugar readings are constant. CGMs also alert when one’s blood sugar drops too low or rises too high. These devices can be lifesaving and changes the way one may react to blood sugar levels. For example, if someone with diabetes tests and has a blood sugar level of 100 versus testing and also seeing 100 on the CGM with double arrows down (meaning blood sugar is dropping very fast) this could completely change how this person might react to what their blood sugar is doing.
Currently Medicare does not cover CGMs and millions of seniors with diabetes, who can be more susceptible to hypoglycemia unawareness (do not realize their blood sugar is low), are left without these significant devices and are increased risk for low blood sugar experiences that can lead to seizures, hospitalizations, or even death.
This issue has become a top advocacy issue for many diabetes groups to encourage Medicare to cover CGMs. To help on this matter simply go to http://act.diabetespac.org/app/write-a-letter?1&engagementld=100459. Simply fill in your name and address information and this website automatically looks up your elected officials, writes either a thank you message if they have already cosponsored the bill, or a letter urging them to cosponsor the Medicare CGM Access Act.
Malissa Sarver, MS, RD, LD, Registered Dietician, KDMC Ohio, can be reached at 740-991-1430