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US patient explains how self-adjusting insulin pump now licenced in Canada has changed his life
After living with Type 1 diabetes for nearly half his life, 30-year-old Rob Howe feels like he’s finally getting back some of the time and energy he had been burning each day managing his medical condition.
Howe, a resident of Dallas, Texas, is among more than 100,000 Americans who have begun using the world’s first self-adjusting insulin pump – the Medtronic MiniMedTM 670G system – since it was approved for use in the U.S. two years ago by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
Canadians with Type 1 diabetes will soon also be able to access the ground-breaking technology, which helps to stabilize glucose levels 24 hours a day by automatically adjusting basal insulin delivery based on real-time insulin needs. Health Canada has licensed the system for use in people with Type 1 diabetes seven years of age and older. Medtronic expects to begin commercial release of the MiniMed 670G system in Canada later this fall. Approximately 300,000 Canadians live with Type 1 diabetes.
Howe, a former professional basketball player and entrepreneur, said the MiniMed 670G has helped keep his blood glucose levels in optimal range more frequently, providing him more freedom to focus on his life instead of focusing on his personal care.
"I'm spending less energy thinking about my diabetes," he said. "It's incremental, but it adds up over time. I believe that all of life's great treasures come from compound interest , so getting a little bit of each day back is going to add up tremendously for me long term."
Howe, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 16, said he was initially skeptical about whether new technology could help him. He had been using a less advanced type of insulin pump for nearly a decade and had been able to keep his blood sugar at healthy levels by carefully managing his diet, exercise and insulin intake. But after he researched the science and technology behind the MiniMed 670G, he became convinced it could benefit him. He began using the system in February 2018.
Now I have the confidence to exercise and be active and know my pump is doing all of my thinking for me.Rob Howe, U. S. patient using the Minimed 670G system
“I can see from my time in range, which is the main metric on the pump, that my numbers are in a much tighter range over a greater period of time. Even though I had tight control before, I feel much more confident in my decision making with the MiniMed 670G,” he said. “That just takes some of the stress off of me and allows me to be myself and not have diabetes be so involved in my whole life.”
Howe, who played basketball against the Harlem Globetrotters as a member of the Washington Generals, said the MiniMed 670G allows him to be more active without worrying about spikes in his blood glucose levels.
He used to remove his previous insulin pump before playing basketball or exercising heavily because he wasn’t sure how it would handle the extra exertion of energy. As a result, his blood sugars would spike during basketball and make it difficult to enjoy getting involved in a game he loved.
The MiniMed 670G can be worn during strenuous exercise and continues to monitor blood glucose levels and make insulin adjustments.
“Now I have the confidence to exercise and be active and know my pump is doing all of my thinking for me,” Howe said. “If my levels start to go up, the pump will correct it and if my levels start to go down, the pump will stop giving me insulin and keep me in range.”
Howe said the MiniMed 670G gives him more optimism for the future, knowing he can effectively manage his Type 1 diabetes with less effort.
“When I think about the next 50 years of diabetes in my life, going from 30 to 80, it gives me a lot of hope for what’s to come.”
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