Two weeks ago, Anna and I had the opportunity to attend the American Diabetes Association 76th Scientific Sessions in New Orleans. While our schedules were packed from early morning until late at night, we also managed to a few laps around the exhibit hall to catch some of the latest products (e.g. Dario BG meter, Tresiba long-acting insulin) and even squeeze in some of the scientific sessions.
I was able to attend a Symposium entitled "Beyond A1c: Why Quality of Life Matters." While healthcare providers and researchers are of course always looking for and tracking measurable goals for diabetes patients, some providers and experts are working to better define and include outcomes other than individual and average blood glucose meter readings and hemoglobin A1c results (3-month average of blood glucose). Health-related quality of life is another outcome that can and should be included as a primary measurement, according to speakers Lawrence Fisher PhD (UC San Francisco), Marissa E. Hilliard PhD (Baylor College of Medicine), and Gareth R. Dutton PhD (University of Alabama).
As we who live with diabetes already know, we are much more than the averages and summaries of our glycemic data. As these researchers described, quality of life includes the disease state, daily activities, social, physical, and emotional, and is a unique window into our life experience. When lives include diabetes they also may include worries about the costs of managing this condition, time spent navigating and implementing treatment options, and communication with family members, health care providers, and the diabetes community, among others. Quality of life for people with diabetes is also directly related to following treatment recommendations and glycemic control.
Health-related quality of life outcomes also showed up in a corporate symposium we attended. "Two Years of Flash Glucose Monitoring: The Global Clinical Experience" was supported by a grant from Abbott Diabetes Care. This program included discussion of recent trial data obtained with FreeStyle Libre Pro in people with type 2 diabetes in the US; the clinical experience with FreeStyle Libre Pro in India; and the use of real time sensor data in people with type 1 diabetes using FreeStyle Libre in Europe.
As someone who has participated in clinical trials of the FreeStyle Libre here in the US I was thrilled to hear about these studies from around the globe and their results, including satisfaction with treatment, perception of hyperglycemia, quality of life, reduction of hypoglycemia, and clinical utility. The idea of the opportunity to use a sensor for 14 days with a reader that never has to be calibrated with a BG result, and to eliminate finger pokes overall, gives me chills. It also offers some hope...though PWD in the US have to wait for it be released and available here.
For the most part, Anna and I spent the 4 days of the event having more than 20 meetings to discuss current and potential partnerships with industry members such as Sanofi, Janssen, Abbott, Dexcom, Merck, Insulet, Dario, Medtronic, AstraZeneca, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Novo Nordisk, and Lexicon. We also got to meet and hang out with our friends from vital diabetes community orgs like Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition, Diabetes Hands Foundation, Diabetes Australia, and College Diabetes Network. (Yes, beignets were eaten. Multiple times. Cafe du Monde was right down the street! Also, I recognized my 36th diaversary while we were there - so celebratory beignets were necessary.)
We told everyone who met with us, who rode with us in the elevator, and who sat down next to us, about the incredible DiabetesSisters members, leaders, and supporters, and the great potential to support and improve the lives of women with diabetes that is realized day after day. We shared about the 40+ active and incoming PODS Leaders who lead PODS Meetups in more than 30 locations in 18 states, providing peer support and education for women living with all types of diabetes and prediabetes. I was so proud to represent DiabetesSisters and work to gain even more support for our programs and our mission.
Thank you to the American Diabetes Association for allowing us to attend as members of the press - the only way a nonprofit like DiabetesSisters can possibly participate.