The Free Style Libre is a new way of testing your blood glucose levels. You attach a sensor to your upper arm (right arm if you’re left-handed like me and vice versa), and then you use a reader to scan the sensor and it gives you your results in a second.
You can also see what your blood glucose has been doing for the last eight hours, and you can tell if it’s going up or down, quickly or slowly, or staying stable.
Calculating Insulin Doses
There’s also a feature for calculating insulin doses, and you can use the reader in the traditional way to test blood glucose through a finger prick if you have the strips suitable for the system. I didn’t use either of these features.
It was interesting. As someone who only recently managed to get out of the slightly obsessive compulsive blood testing habit, I scanned a lot. It’ll be hard to go back to limited tests. Seeing what your blood sugar does over eight hours – particularly overnight – is also fascinating.
In general, my blood sugar dips first thing, and then rises through the hours of the morning – something I believe is common in most people.
I liked it because I could check frequently. Do I think it improved my overall control? Too hard to tell and two weeks doesn’t give you that knowledge. Would I like to keep it? Yes. It’s wonderful being able to check your levels whenever you want. Jokes aside about obsessive compulsive testing – and actually, I didn’t do check half as much as I thought I would – knowing that you can check whenever you want is liberating. I get through five boxes of 50 blood testing strips every two months and sometimes it’s feels as if I’m eking them out, as that works out as less than five strips a day.
As I said in my original post, which you can read here, the biggest drawback of the Free Style Libre is that it is not available on the NHS. The sensors need to be replaced every 14 days and they cost £56 (£48 when you apply the VAT exemption you are entitled to as a type 1 diabetic), which works out at £1,248 a year if you use it all the time.
Occasional use is an option though. It would be nice to have a few sensors in stock for that possibility.
Have you used the Free Style Libre – or is it something that appeals to you? What do you think the benefits to you could be? We’d love to know.