Although type 1 and type 2 diabetes are both officially categorized as the same metabolic disease (called diabetes mellitus), these two variants have completely different causes and affect the body in different ways. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition in which your body attacks its own insulin-producing cells. Type 2 diabetes on the other hand, is considered a metabolic condition wherein your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, and the insulin that is produced is not as effective as it used to be. Because of these differences, both conditions might require different treatment options.

Insulin injections are the usual treatment for type 1 diabetes due to the loss of insulin-producing beta-pancreatic cells in the body. In contrast, physical activity, weight loss, and a heathy diet are the initial treatment recommendations for most newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes. Often, these lifestyle changes can do a lot to correct the body’s abnormal metabolic state. Ultimately, the treatment goal in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is to achieve a greater degree of control over the body’s insulin and glucose levels, reducing medical complications in the future.

Regularly monitoring your glucose levels is essential for diabetes self-management — luckily there is technology that can help with this. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) streamlines the self-monitoring process by allowing the user to check glucose anytime, anywhere, painlessly, and without the need for frequent finger-pricking. The instantaneous glucose report function promotes self-awareness and education with regards to diet, exercise, and incidence of low blood sugar. It provides a biofeedback mechanism to modify behavior day-to-day, not only to reach a better glycemic control but also to adopt a healthier lifestyle as a result.

The behaviours that users can learn from the glucose data of a CGM is a potentially life-changing health intervention. I would recommend people with diabetes try a CGM for at least a few weeks to learn about how glucose levels change in relation to their activities, stress levels, or food choices. The hope is that this knowledge will help simplify their lives and their journey in the management of diabetes.