Serious Glucose Tracking

Freestyle Libre glucose monitor

For years I have been talking about the importance of blood sugar control in the context of age-related disease. I spend hours speaking about it in my lectures and even more time counseling patients in clinic about the dangers of elevated blood sugar. Chronically elevated blood sugar accelerates the aging process and predisposes you to a whole host of diseases: cancer, diabetes, hardening of the arteries and even Alzheimer’s disease. Let’s face it; most so-called age-related diseases are underpinned by metabolic disarray caused by inflammation run amok and the insulin-resistant state, or the product of chronically elevated blood sugar. That said, you could delay or frankly discourage the onset of these diseases by keeping these factors in check. Novel thought, right? But ideas are easy; it’s the execution that sometimes proves difficult. No longer, thanks to technology. And companies like Google have had their eye (or more specifically, their contact lenses) on such technologies for years.

Abbott Laboratories has recently introduced the Freestyle Libre blood glucose monitoring system. It works like this. A small button-style sensor is applied to the outer arm via an insertion device. The sensor interfaces via near-field communication with a handheld meter. Wave the meter over the sensor and voila, instantaneous blood sugar reading. No needle sticks (although a small needle is located on the undersurface of the sensor and superficially pierces the skin at the time of insertion) and no blood. Check your sugar as often as you’d like! The sensor will also assess and log your blood sugar every fifteen minutes regardless for trend tracking. This is graphically displayed every time you manually check your blood sugar. Small device, a lot of very useful information or as I always call it “actionable data.” The acquisition of data for the sake of acquiring it is… worthless. Not the case here.

You can use the Libre to assess your blood sugar response to a particular meal, exercise, and even supplements. And what about in response to, and this applies to me, aberrant sleep habits and other stressors (personal, professional and financial)? I can tell you from first-hand experience using the Libre that the data have been enlightening, to say the least. Mind you; I am not diabetic.

Stress, in particular, can drive blood sugars through the roof. And yes, I am “accustomed” to the rigors of the job, the 3 A.M. surgeries, training and the other stressors I assume on a daily basis, but by no means does that translate to immunity to the physiologic effects of cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol will drive sugars through the roof! Hell, you may as well be eating a Snicker’s bar. And here’s the problem, this phenomenon is understated by mainstream medicine as was, until recently, the toll that even mild elevations in systolic pressure take on the cardiovascular system and ultimately one’s risk for a vascular event (stroke or heart attack).

The truth is many Americans (and people worldwide) are living their lives under insurmountable amounts of stress that, like elevated blood pressure, wreaks havoc on the body.  And to boot, many eat poorly and don’t exercise! Hmm… Does it surprise you to learn that the health burden in this country continues to rise despite the advent of technology? We’re better at diagnosing age-related disease and their counterparts but certainly no better at preventing them. Such blood-free monitoring systems may turn the tide, however.

So check out the Libre today! Speak to your personal physician, as it requires a prescription, or contact my office: 561-935-9233. You can also CLICK HERE.