My diabetes story in a single graph

By | 8 June, 2018

Living in Scotland, like I have done for the last twenty years, has many downsides. The weather is consistently crap, the winters are dark and the accents are, sometimes, impenetrable.

However, there are also many upsides. The landscape is wonderful, the people lovely and you get to develop a healthy chip on your shoulder about the fact that England always ignores its northern neighbour. All wholesome stuff.

Another benefit is the cracking, Scotland-only (so far) website MyDiabetesMyWay. This is a website set up by NHS Scotland which provides information for diabetics and their carers and, more usefully, also gives you access to all your lab and test results since time immemorial.

Glancing through the site, I can see how my cholesterol has hovered around “alright but not great” for the last twelve years, how my weight has fluctuated and how my Albumin/Creatinine ratio (whatever the hell that is) has changed over the years.

But perhaps most striking was the graph plotting my A1C since diagnosis, which I have copied below for your prurient interest:

I realised that this single graph told my entire diabetes-story in one picture.

Starting back in 2006, you can clearly see I’m not very well; I suspect if we could extend the graph to the left it would look like a car crash of terrible blood glucose levels. But immediately after diagnosis, we see a nice and healthy drop down as I start injecting insulin for the first time.

But wait! What initially seem like “good” results to the untrained eye, clearly hide wildly fluctuating daily results as I struggled to control my diabetes with Multiple Daily Injections. Look closely and you can see the results going up and down quite a lot from 2007 to 2010. As I look back with the benefit of hindsight, these were not entirely good years.

Then we suddenly see a rise around 2011 as I started on the pump. My results, as far as A1C was concerned, were “worse” but, in fact, my control was far better as I finally got in control of my wildly swinging blood glucose.

It then took the best part of a year to get used to the pump and fine-tune its settings, after which you see a drop as I tighten up my control. From then you start to see quite a nice, straight(ish) line that remains pretty satisfactory all round to the present day.

It remains to be seen how the Libre will modify the graph as we move into the future. Is suspect we will see the same nice, straight lines but perhaps a little lower.

While the Libre is a great tool for looking at my diabetes on a micro-level of hourly readings, it is also remarkably useful to have a look at my results over a decade or more to see where I’ve been and, therefore, where I might also be going.

What do you think your diabetes story might be?

2 thoughts on “My diabetes story in a single graph

  1. Alison

    I love that graph. The bigger picture makes the results so much more meaningful.

    Reply
    1. Tim

      Yeah, it’s interesting to see the big picture as well as the day to day minutia

      Reply

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