Monday, November 25, 2013

Low Glucose Suspend . . . .

It’s been just over a week since I’ve been using the MiniMed® 530G with Enlite® system. I’ll admit that at first the Low Glucose Suspend feature kind of scared me.  In my mind, this feature is for emergency use only.  Unless I’m passed out cold I’m going to treat my low as usual and take my pump out of suspend mode.  (When the CGM reaches a pre-set Threshold Suspend setting, between 60 and 90, the pump alarms, blaringly loudly as it suspends.  The screen displays the option to continue suspend mode or resume your basal.  If you choose to continue suspend mode, the pump does not deliver basal insulin for two hours.  Once the two hours are up, it resumes normal operation.)

But I started to get curious about how my blood sugars would react if I let the pump suspend itself instead of treating a low.  And hey, it might make for a good blog post, right?  So when my pump began alarming at 3:45 a.m. Saturday I decided it was the perfect time to give the Low Glucose Suspend a whirl.  (Also I just wanted to go back to sleep instead of dealing with the low.)  I did a finger-stick to verify that my blood sugar was really 60, which is where I have my Threshold set.  I was actually 68 but trending down, so I decided to let the Suspend do its thing.

I woke again at 6:30 to use the bathroom.  My pump was back to delivering insulin and a quick check clocked me in at 72.  That’s a little low, but I figured the 2 hours of missed basal was still working to bring me up so I just went back to bed.  I woke up at 8:30 and did my fasting check, which revealed . . . .

101

I couldn’t have asked for better.  I posted to Facebook and InstaGram and got a couple of interesting questions.  Was I nervous to let my pump suspend overnight?  I wasn’t, because I have a bad habit of ignoring low alarms in favor of sleep anyway.  So for me, knowing my pump was suspended was better than knowing I was just ignoring a low.  Also, the CGM will still send out high and low alarms if my blood sugar isn’t rising or is rising too much. Did it feel uncomfortable waiting out a low to go higher by the insulin suspend rather than the quick fix of juice?  If I had run this experiment during the day, yes, I’m sure it could have felt very uncomfortable.  But in the middle of the night, I just went back to sleep so I didn’t feel any low symptoms.  (And often I don’t feel them anyway, because I’m fairly hypo-unaware.)

All in all, I’m thrilled with how well this worked for me.  As the  morning wore on my blood sugar stayed pretty level - 115 at 10:10 and 107 at 12:45.  In the future  I don’t plan on using it as a regular low treatment - I do think I’d rather treat lows myself but know it’s there in case of emergency.  At least during the day.  I have a feeling I will be pretty tempted to let the pump suspend when I’m low during the night, so that’s something I should probably run by my health care team for a little more guidance.

If you have any questions I didn’t address here, feel free to leave them in the comments!

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **

4 comments:

  1. Interesting experiment. I'm looking forward to learning more about your system.

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  2. Love the idea, as I often over correct (why not eat that piece of pie in the fridge) and end up high in the am.

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  3. This makes me curious because I stuck my nose up at the whole "low glucose suspend" option. I have to say, you just proved me wrong and possibly changed my mind on it.

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  4. One of the best parts of having a CGM is that it lets you do little experiments on yourself like this more safely. This is interesting. I use the suspend feature of my pump sometimes to buy some time at work or at night. Sometimes it works like your experience. Sometimes I still have to stop and eat. And sometimes it works, but I have a disproportionate high later on. I have to say that even though the odds aren't that great for having the best experience, it still is worth a try. I think the Enlight Suspend is a great idea. The risks are minimal and the safety feature is a great addition. I hope that you will continue posting about your experience with it.

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