Insurance hurdles blocks life-changing technology for diabetes

Sports were always a tricky proposition for 11-year-old Noah Copeland. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 3, he had to carefully monitor his blood sugar levels with any sort of activity. If he suspected his blood sugars might be getting too low during a soccer game, he would have to leave the field and prick his finger just to make sure.

Then, in November 2017, the Bend boy got a continuous glucose monitor paired with an insulin pump. Such monitors, usually placed on the arm or the abdomen, measure glucose levels in the cellular fluid just below the skin every five minutes. The readings are sent via Bluetooth to a reader or a smartphone, tracking the changes in blood sugar over time. Instead of relying on a snapshot-in-time with a fingerstick, the monitor can tell him if his blood sugar is heading above or below a healthy range so he can head off any problems before they start.

Noah’s monitor communicates directly with his insulin pump, fine-tuning the amount of insulin he receives. He went from needing seven, 10 or more fingersticks a day to only three. And his self-confidence blossomed.

“Noah has played sports, he’s had sleepovers at friends, because we’re getting real-time readings,” his mother, Amanda Copeland said. “The growth I’ve seen in him and the social confidence with this advanced technology, you just saw this real change in confidence.”


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