Machine helps Newbridge man take management of his diabetes


A Newbridge man discovered how a glucose monitoring system revolutionized the care of his 82-year-old father with type 1 diabetes.

Robbie Ryan’s father, Christy, has lived with diabetes for over four decades.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects over 5% of the population in Ireland.

Christy’s life changed in the spring of 2019 when a neighbor checked on him and found him collapsed on the floor.
When paramedics arrived, they said his blood sugar was so low that he might have been only 10 minutes away from slipping into a coma.

After that episode, Robbie knew that it was best for his father to live with him.
Since then, Christy has been using the FreeStyle Libre system from US medical device giant Abbott.

Christy, who has used the system to treat his diabetes for almost two years, said he has seen tremendous improvements in his diabetes management.

According to son Robbie, his blood sugar control may have been on target for the first time in the past few months.
If blood sugar levels are not controlled, the elderly may be more prone to hypoglycemia, which can cause dizziness, headache, confusion, tremors, visual disturbances, or personality changes.

Although many Irish patients are partially made in Ireland and used by more than two million people with diabetes in 50 countries, they cannot access this life changing technology as Ireland is the only country in the world that only reimburses the system for patients up to the age of 21 years.

Robbie said, “Only giving the FreeStyle Libre system to younger people doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
“Diabetes is a lifelong condition that doesn’t just affect you at a young age.”
The surveillance system also proved particularly useful during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Robbie added, “We were able to remotely share the glucose data with his nursing team at Naas General Hospital.
“We can discuss his diabetes with his advisor over the phone and all the data is right there.”