Sussan Ley: MAKE LIFE SAVING TECHNOLOGY AFFORDABLE TO TYPE 1 DIABETICS BY INCLUDING CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITOR (CGM) ON THE NDSS and PBS
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Type one diabetes is not a lifestyle choice. You can't get it from eating too much sugar. It is an autoimmune disorder, caused when the body's own immune system attacks the pancreas, rendering it permanently unable to produce insulin. The above picture is of our 6 year old daughter, Violet- a newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic.
The is no cure. 80% of those diagnosed have no family history. Most are young children. It is a life sentence of endless needles, finger pricks and carb counting.
Management of type one is intense, round the clock and vitally important. Blood sugar that is too low will cause disorientation, loss of consciousness, coma and, if unrecognised or untreated- death. Low blood sugar levels whilst sleeping are particularly dangerous and can also be fatal.Blood sugar that is too high has an immediate threat of DKA (blood that is too acidic) which is also life threatening. It is a fine line and a balancing act that diabetics walk every day to try to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
For you and I, that is between 4-6 mmol/l. A diabetic can sway from 2-22mmol/l in a day, even when they actively manage their diabetes to the best of their ability.
The long term effects of poorly managed levels are frightening and costly to the community- kidney failure, loss of extremities, eye problems, damage to blood vessels, and damage to just about every organ in the body. Even young type one diabetics without long term complications often require hospitalisation for common gastro and flu, also at great cost to the tax payer.
In addition to illness, blood sugar levels are effected by exercise, hormones and even emotion. To say that blood sugar levels are unpredictable is a significant understatement.
To better manage their diabetes, type one patients need comprehensive information about the way their body's blood glucose levels trend. The current recommendation (that is supported and funded by the Australian healthcare system) is for type one diabetics to check their blood sugar levels by conducting approximately 10 finger pricks a day (upon waking, before every snack or meal, before bed and at 2am). But this only provides 10 small snapshots, and does not allow the identification of blood sugar level trends.
Continuous Glucose monitoring (CGM) is the perfect solution to many complications faced daily by type one diabetics. CGM is conducted by the wearing of a sensor (such as a Dexcom) that checks the blood sugar level every 5 minutes, 24 hours a day. It allows for trend identification, prevention of high and low blood sugar events, and is the best way to prevent hospitalisation for common illnesses, as it allows for better management and control at home.
Better day to day management is the best prevention for long term complications. It also allows type one diabetics (and their families) to sleep at night, knowing they will be alerted by their CGM if their blood sugar is dangerously low - thus saving lives!
The technology for CGM is available in Australia - for a price. Unfortunately, the Australian government does not support this technology, calling it a ' lifestyle choice', and it is not covered by the NDSS/ PBS or private health insurance.
The out of pocket costs are prohibitive to Australian families (we pay approximately $108 per week for CGM, in addition to the other costs of diabetes management- insulin, consumables, insulin pumps, blood glucose meters, etc).
Inclusion of CGM into the NDSS/ PBS will initially have a cost to the tax payer, yes. But the savings in avoided hospital stays and long term complications will be significant. Diabetics only make up 3% of the population, and type one make up 10% of these but treatment costs for long term complications are staggering- between $4500 and $9000+ per person per year.
In addition to the financial and health implications just described, a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes also has a profound emotional impact on the entire family. As the parent of a newly diagnosed 6 year old child, I know firsthand of the shock, grief, fear and desperation of coming to terms with the diagnosis of a chronic medical condition that has the real possibility of shortening your child's lifespan by decades. CGM also provides type 1 diabetics and their families peace of mind. The ability to know with a glance at the Dexcom that your child is not going dangerously low during gymnastics class, dangerously high due to a failed/missed insulin dose. To know that your child WILL wake up the next morning!
Please help support the inclusion of CGM on the NDSS/ PBS by signing this petition.
Today: Erika is counting on you
Erika Lutz needs your help with “PBAC Secretariat: Sussan Ley: MAKE LIFE SAVING TECHNOLOGY AFFORDABLE TO TYPE 1 DIABETICS BY INCLUDING CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITOR (CGM) ON THE NDSS and PBS”. Join Erika and 7,954 supporters today.