Sweet get-together

THREE years ago Sale’s Annemarie White was diagnosed as having type one diabetes, a hereditary condition her mother shared, and a condition which was aggravated by her recent pregnancy.

During her pregnancy, Ms White was forced to go onto an insulin pump, a small battery operated electronic device about the size of a pager which continuously delivers insulin through a cannula, or tube, under the skin which stays in place for up to three days.

Insulin pumps are worn 24 hours a day and need to be detached for swimming, showering and various other activities.

Even after the birth of baby Angela, Ms White continues to use an insulin pump.

Yet, thanks to the fundraising work of local Lion’s clubs and the Sale and District branch of Diabetes Australia Victoria, Central Gippsland Health Service, Sale, was able to provide Ms White with an iPro2 continuous glucose monitoring system which helped her pregnancy run more smoothly.

The Lion’s club raised $3500 to put toward the device, in addition to what was raised by Diabetes Australia Victoria.

The iPro2 device measures a patient’s glucose levels continuously, working day and night to take up to 288 readings a day in order to see any patterns of trends in blood sugar levels, which will help the referring specialist make targeted clinical decisions suitable to each patient.

CGHS diabetes nurse educator, Sue Kewming, said the device was worn for six days, with the machine recording the patient’s changing glucose levels every five minutes.

The information was then downloaded onto a computer where the client’s doctor and diabetes educator are able to look at graphs of the sensor data and determine any changes needed in their treatment, such as adjustments to insulin or other lifestyle changes.

Ms Kewming said that, unlike insulin pumps and other continuous glucose monitoring equipment, the iPro2 could be worn in the shower or while swimming.

Unlike other devices, it is small and discreet, no bigger than a 50 cent piece according to Ms Kewming, waterproof, and not hampered by annoying cords or cables, as it is inserted under the skin.

Type one diabetes sufferer Julie Gotts of Bundalaguah said the device was so small it couldn’t be seen when wearing a t-shirt.

She said it meant no one could tell when she was wearing it, making her feel less self-conscious in social situations.

“You can’t let illness pull you down,” she said.

She said diabetes technology had come a long way since she was diagnosed 29 years ago.

To celebrate the healthy arrival of Ms White’s daughter Angela, and the efforts of the Lion’s club, Diabetes Australia Victoria provided lunch for a break off group of local type one diabetes suffers, which was held earlier this month at the Wa-de-lock Cellar Door in Stratford.

For information about insulin pumps and iPro2 for both children and adults, phone CGHS on 5143 8800.

Tomorrow will be World Diabetes Day.