WINNIPEG (CityNews) – Health professionals and the diabetes community in Manitoba are calling on the province to fund newer and more accurate technologies for diabetics.
Healthcare workers say newer technologies like continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) can provide a more accurate picture of a person’s daily glucose levels instead of just pricking a finger a few times a day.
However, this technology is not covered by the Manitoba government.
“So we went from using urine tablets in the 1970s to the first fingerstick glucose monitor in the 1980s, and basically stuck with the art of pricking your finger to find out where your glucose is at a given point in time It’s time, ”said Lori Bedard, a Winnipeg-based nursing advisor in diabetes management.
Bedard, who has worked with people with diabetes for more than 30 years, says pricking the finger doesn’t provide far-reaching data. If a person does this seven times a day, they only know their glucose level for seven seconds over a 24 hour period.
Updated technology would provide better information, she says.
“When people wear these sensors, they read every minute so they can either scan them, blink, fetch them, or they can be pushed towards them,” Bedard said. “But you can do this simple art and see every minute of the day. It forms a diagram for them so they know exactly where they have been, where they are going, and how they got there. “
According to Berard, having access to these technologies will help patients better manage themselves and give health professionals more accurate information.
Trevor Kirczenow, whose son has type 1 diabetes, also says it is very helpful for the family to be able to check on loved ones all day.
“For example, if your child is at school, you can see the blood sugar from home,” said Kirczenow. “Or if we’re talking about an adult or a senior, even a family member in another city can see that person’s blood sugar.
“And if they see a serious low and try to contact that person and they don’t get a response, they can call a neighbor to check on that person or they can call paramedics to go and see.”
Kirczenow and the Emergency Diabetes Support for Manitobans group organized events at the legislature to raise awareness of the problem.
Most recently, they hosted an “Amazing Race” -type event to show MLAs the difficulty of measuring glucose using old technology.
Let’s make it happen! CGM and pump cover just makes sense! Money and health! #MBdiabetescoveragenow #CGM #Pump pic.twitter.com/Kt2SjKOkqR
– Emergency Diabetes Support for Manitobans (@MBDiabetes) April 1, 2021
Currently, Manitoba only covers the cost of insulin pumps for diabetics until they are 18 years old. There is no public coverage for continuous glucose monitoring for any age.
“Anyone with type 1 diabetes could benefit from the coverage of a continuous glucose monitor,” said Kirczenow. “And if people want access to an insulin pump, there is no medical reason to cut it off at the age of 18.
“Type 1 diabetes doesn’t magically go away by the age of 18.”
Kirczenow believes Manitoba could adjust its budget to cover technologies like CGMs because he says the cost isn’t much higher than what they already offer.
He says age-based coverage is also problematic because insulin needs change over the course of a person’s life.
“It’s hard to tell without a continuous blood glucose meter,” said Kirczenow. “You don’t really know what’s going on. Yes, an alarm in the middle of the night that blood sugar is low is absolutely life changing, and we could have that in Manitoba if the government reacts quickly. “
Most provinces do not cover CGMs, according to Diabetes Canada. Only Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon cover these technologies under certain criteria.
“And it’s really unfortunate because it’s the zip code that is causing that for the people of Manitoba,” Bedard said. “So we have to do something. Diabetes is nobody’s fault. “