I have completed Insulin on Board, my final project for the Data Representation class at ITP. Insulin on Board is a part of Databetes, my project focused on using data to improving diabetes health outcomes. As a type-1 diabetic of 25 years, I know first-hand that patients need greater support in making all the daily decisions that affect their blood sugar control. A PDF version that shows the whole piece can be seen at http://bit.ly/KRTCzP
I want to use my personal diabetes data as the source for my final project. I have information from:
- 3 devices – insulin pump and two glucose monitors (data from two devices is available through a .csv file, the final device through a .xml file).
- Google doc – lists everything I have eaten this year
- Glycemic index – I found this spreadsheet of glycemic values posted on the blog of another diabetic @ http://www.mendosa.com/GI_GL_Carb_data.xls
- Photos – food images
- Exercise – I use RunKeeper and Gmap-pedometer to track my distances
I will start by focusing on the insulin and food data. If I have time, I can include the exercise information. But the medication and nutritional data is more important to me for this project.
This week, I completed my Intro to Computational Media final project. I created a data visualization of 7729 blood sugar readings from the month of November. The data was all drawn from my Dexcom 7 continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
I was excited yesterday to get my new Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor). This posting is my review after using it for one day.
I have been using MiniMed insulin pumps for 15+ years. I started using their CGM in February 2010. It seemed logical since their system is integrated, with CGM data transmitted to and displayed on their insulin pump. But my doctor frequently mentioned that many patients liked the Dexcom CGM better.
I finally made the switch yesterday after spending a few weeks getting the requisite insurance approvals. In general, I think the device’s functionality is quite good, but the design could be improved.
First off, the receiver is really big! Previously, my MiniMed insulin pump acted as the CGM receiver. But now I need to carry this large device. It is the same size as my Android Nexus One phone, only twice as thick. Compared to my phone and insulin pump, which perform a lot more functions in a smaller design, you would think Dexcom could produce a smaller device.
I remember that June 14, 1986 was a Saturday. At age 12, I went with my mother that day to see my doctor. My health had been deteriorating for weeks. I had no energy, no appetite and an unquenchable thirst.
Several hours and a few lab tests later, I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. I had no idea what that meant at the time. But when my mother started crying, I knew this couldn’t be good. By the end of the day I was checked into the hospital, learning how to mix short and long-acting insulins in a syringe, test my own blood sugar and count carbohydrates.
Fast-forward 25 years and I am doing well! A check-up last week showed my HbA1c was a healthy 6.6% (diabetics aim for a reading below 7%). Eye exams have found no sign of diabetic retinopathy. A host of other lab tests consistently come back normal. With stable control, I have traveled the world in recent years for work as a photographer and run two marathons.
On a daily basis, I use three devices to control my diabetes: an insulin pump, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and a standard blood glucose monitor.