Each and every day people who live with type one diabetes have to know where their numbers stand. High highs and low lows can be scary and dangerous. Type one is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is needed to allow sugar to enter cells to produce energy.
Mike Brin knows all about checking numbers. At 16, he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Now, at 36, he's dedicated his life to raising awareness and money for research serving as the executive director of JDRF Austin.
Brin was one of the first patients at Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology to try the new hybrid closed loop system. The Medtronic decive was approved by the FDA late last year.
"It's a game changer," said Dr. Tom Blevins, an endocrinologist. "It's a sensor that reads the glucose or sugar and it transmits the date to a pump which infuses insulin into the body. What's different here is the pump will learn what a person needs and alter the amount of insulin needed for the body,' explained Blevins.
Blevins likens it to cruise control for controlling diabetes.
"It's amazing. It's been a great experience and is helping me level off in the night time," explained Brin to Blevins, his doctor.
"It's a constant daily struggle. Not a few minutes go by where you aren't paying attention," said Brin about what life with type one is like. The new technology allows him to take a little more of a back seat and let the pump and sensors do their job. "It's been eye opening is the best way to say it. The mind shift of letting it take control as opposed to me constantly worrying."
The system is still a hybrid as it requires some intervention usually around mealtime.
"We have been waiting for this tool. It's going to help our patients with fewer low and high sugars and help people achieve better overall diabetes control," explained Blevins.
He's hopeful to one day see a fully closed loop system which would be closest thing to an artificial pancreas.