Posted by on Sunday, 23 August 2015

64 Days with the Medtronic 640G: Ep 7 Overnight Hypoglycaemia

Those of you who can remember way back when this blog started (if you even exist, you have my undying affection for your extraordinary stickability) may recall that we were prompted to start writing a blog about my diabetes as a family after a particularly nasty overnight hypo. It was the beginning of me realising that I was *nothing* like as good at the whole 'pretending to be my own pancreas' lark as I had managed to convince myself that I was. I began to realise how much I didn't know, and that one event led me to connect with literally thousands of others wrestling their own diabetes into submission every day. My life, and particularly my diabetes management are very much the better for it.

Overnight hypos have been a bit of a recurring theme throughout my 25 years of living with type 1 diabetes. I am lucky in that I have never needed paramedic callouts, but there were many times along the way when Jane had to step in at breakfast time to 'bring me round' in the years before we started writing this blog. I look back at those early posts and am bewildered and ashamed that it took me quite so long to realise how much effect this was having on everybody else in the family. How unfair it was on them. At the time though, I guess I had convinced myself that my management was 'as good as could be expected'. I knew I was having 'A few too many highs... a few too many lows'. But doesn't everyone?

If you are the sort of person who approaches anywhere near 8 hours a night when you live with type 1 diabetes, you are spending fully a third of every day in the land of nod. That is an awful lot of time for things to go wrong - especially if your basal insulin dose is not adjusted correctly* or your requirements have moved since you last checked. You may be lucky enough to get clanging warning signs when you dip below 4.0mmol/L - enough to wake you up and sort yourself out. But you can't rely on them. And the more and longer the periods you spend below 4 during the night, the more of a hammering your hypo awareness will take and the less you will feel them. A classic vicious circle.

I am coming toward the end of my 64 days with the MiniMed 640G now (Medtronic have kindly allowed me to keep hold of their toy for a little while longer as there are a couple more posts I'd like to put together). Today seemed like a good opportunity to gather some of the snippets of video that I've been filming since the beginning and edit them into a 'SmartGuard vs Overnight Hypoglycaemia' post. Has Smartguard made any difference? Has my overnight hypoglycaemia reduced at all?

Watch the video below to find out what has been happening over the last 9 weeks. As always, I'd love to hear your comments or any questions, please leave them below or post on my Youtube channel.



*During the video, I mention how important I have found the concept of basal testing over the last few years, both on MDI (multiple daily injections) and also on a pump. Systematically testing and adjusting my basal insulin on an ongoing basis helps me to keep my meal doses and corrections working more or less as I expect them to (ha!). It was one of the most significant 'new concepts' I discovered when I first started comparing notes with other people with type 1 diabetes online. If you'd like to know more read this post by Gary Scheiner (Think Like a Pancreas) which explains the principle. It is written for pump users, but would be easy to adapt for once- or twice-daily basal insulin injection on MDI.

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