I gain most of my writing inspiration from people and situations that I encounter daily in my personal and professional life. A recent week on call at Cook Children’s inspired me. Being on call is not as glamorous as shown in medical TV shows. For me, it is a very busy week of 24 hour availability. I see complicated as well as less complicated patients and they all require a constant need for attention to detail.
Type 1 diabetes is invariably a part of me being on call as I sit with families coming to terms with a life-changing diagnosis. I’m thankful for the diabetes care team, consisting of diabetic educators, social workers, therapists and dieticians whose help is invaluable to me in caring for and educating children and their families during this traumatic time.
It’s frustrating that a cure for type 1 diabetes continues to elude us. National efforts for prevention as well as a cure continue with research in TrialNet and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Small rays of hope for a cure continue to appear, such as the recent report of the positive effect of abatacept on slowing the course of type 1 diabetes.
In the meantime, diabetes treatment continues to improve. Technology advances fill the gap in the area of improved treatment. I’ve written in the past about continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). The technology has been around for a decade. Although CGM units aren’t ready to completely replace the discomfort of pricking the fingers for blood sugar testing, the technology helps many to improve diabetes control and especially helps avoid serious low blood sugars. Wider use by children and adults of CGM has occurred in the last five years as more companies have manufactured personal use units. The Cook Children’s Diabetes Clinic recently acquired new continuous glucose monitoring units and will look for innovative ways to use this technology to help our patients.
I’ve also written about diabetes focused smartphone apps used to help in diabetes management. A recent survey found that more than 50 percent of Americans are smartphone users, and the number of apps continue to expand. In fact, the overall increase in medical smartphone applications prompted the FDA this year to begin regulating some of these applications.
As I consider all of these advances, I have hope for progress in diabetes care and work with families to make the best use of tools available to improve diabetes care.