65-year-old Lynn Whitworth from North Wales was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 34 years ago.

The condition has existed in her family for the past two generations.

Lynn said: “Both my parents lived with type 2 diabetes as well as one of my grandparents, so I was told it’s no surprise that I also inherited it.

“My diabetes journey began when I started to feel extremely tired, and I would fall asleep as soon as I arrived home from work as an IT professional in the healthcare sector.

“I also noticed more frequent trips to the bathroom, so I visited my GP and was sent for a glucose tolerance test which confirmed I had type 2 diabetes.”

According to Diabetes UK, the number of people living with diabetes has now exceeded five million, and approximately 90% of diagnoses are type 2 diabetes [1]. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and can develop when a person experiences high blood sugar levels due to their body not making enough of a hormone called insulin and/or insulin not working properly. Left untreated, high blood sugar levels, also known as glucose levels, can cause serious health problems called diabetes complications.

On average, 7% of the UK’s population is living with type 2 diabetes. 7.3% of Lancashire residents are currently living with condition [2].

In June 2022, National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) published a set of updated guidelines making glucose sensors available to selected people with type 2 diabetes who administer multiple daily injections of insulin [3]

This means that people living within Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB who are eligible, now have access to Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre system to help manage type 2 diabetes [4].

The FreeStyle Libre 2 system empowers people with actionable insights, giving them real-time access to their glucose levels on their smartphone [5], so they can make more informed health decisions, leading to an improved quality of life [6].

For 30 years, Lynn was on various diabetes medications. She first started taking metformin to manage the condition, but after a while was no longer able to tolerate it, so the only option left for her was insulin.

Lancashire Telegraph:
She said: “I first came across Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre system after reading an article on the internet about three years ago from people who found it really helpful.

“My first thought was, wow, no more painful finger pricking, and no more ruined clothes from dripping blood that took time to stop [7]. I searched the internet to see if it was available in the UK. It was, but you had to purchase it. However, I was working, so I was able to self-fund for approximately two years.

“During this time, the difference to my control was amazing. I just had to swipe my iPhone over the sensor on the back of my upper arm to get an instant reading [8]. No more painful bleeding fingers and it was so easy and convenient to use. As far as I was concerned, this was a massive step forward in diabetes control.”

After self-funding the device, Lynn fought hard to get the sensors prescribed. She was told that the sensors were only available on prescription for people living with type 1 diabetes, but she didn’t give up. Lynn was also supported by resources from Diabetes UK.

Lynn said: “Eventually I was given my sensors on the NHS. The authorisation had to come from the hospital diabetes team to my GP so it could be prescribed each month.

“I felt so pleased that I could get my sensors on prescription because I was no longer able to self-fund, but I had come to rely so much on the sensors as I felt they were an intrinsic part of my diabetes care.”

Neil Harris, general manager for Abbott’s diabetes care business in the UK and Ireland, said: “Those living with Type 1 diabetes have benefitted from Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre system for almost a decade, and it is good to see people with Type 2 diabetes also enjoying the benefits of the technology to support their diabetes management, by giving them actionable insights so they can make informed decisions about food and lifestyle and other factors that impact glucose levels.

“The FreeStyle Libre system is the most widely used CGM system worldwide [9] helping more than five million people living across more than 60 countries [10] to easily monitor their glucose levels [11]. We are committed to broadening access to sensing technology for the millions of people with diabetes who could benefit from taking back control.”

Lynn said: “The FreeStyle Libre 2 system can help people living with diabetes gain better control, so we can delay or prevent complications. If you are eligible for the device, then fight for it. It is a big change in your diabetes care, but also a massive improvement.”

Lynn also cares for her mother who is living with complications as a result of type 2 diabetes.

To try the FreeStyle Libre 2 system for free, visit: www.freestyle.abbott/uk-en/getting-started/sampling.html

[1] Diabetes UK, 2023. Available at https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/number-people-living-diabetes-uk-tops-5-million-first-time   Accessed November 2023

[2] Lancashire County Council. Available at https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/lancashire-insight/health-and-care/health/long-term-conditions/diabetes/#:~:text=Key%20findings,similar%20to%20England%20(7.3%25)   Accessed November 2023

[3] NICE guideline NG28 (2015, Updated 2022) available at https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng28   Accessed November 2023.

[4] Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre https://www.freestyle.abbott/uk-en/home.html Accessed November 2023.

[5] Glucose readings are automatically displayed in the FreeStyle LibreLink app only when your smartphone and sensor are connected and in range. The FreeStyle LibreLink app is only compatible with certain mobile devices and operating systems. Please check the website for more information about device compatibility before using the app. Use of FreeStyle LibreLink may require registration with LibreView.

[6] Fokkert, M.BMJ Open Diab Res Care (2019): https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjdrc-2019-000809

[7] Finger pricks are required if glucose readings and alarms do not match symptoms or expectations.

[8] 60-minute warm-up required when applying the sensor.

[9] Data on file, Abbott Diabetes Care, Inc. Based on the number of users worldwide for the FreeStyle Libre portfolio compared to the number of users for other leading personal use sensor-based glucose monitoring systems.

[10] Data on file at Abbott Diabetes Care.

[11] Haak, T. Diabetes Therapy (2017): https://doi.org/10.1007/s13300-016-0223-6

ADC-84795 (v1.0) 01/2024

Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional about your diabetes management. Individual symptoms, situations and circumstances may vary.

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