Sensor-tivity and Diabetes in Social Situations

Although I've blogged at great length about my thoughts on the psychological side of diabetes, I haven't really spoken about diabetes in social situations, since coming off injections and going onto an insulin pump especially. This is because I've found that much of the social anxiety regarding diabetes can subside, when you no longer have to do injections in public numerous times a day. But what I also find is that in closely contained and quiet situations I still get what I call 'diabetes anxiety'.

What I describe as diabetes anxiety is not a major problem, but manifests itself for me as a creeping feeling of anxiety when I'm in certain social situations. For example, when I visit the cinema I have to sit next to the aisle, for two reasons. The first is in case my insulin pump becomes unhappy and it plays its warning tune, so that I can then leave to go and sort out whatever the problem is whether it's a set change or a blockage etc. The second is in case of feeling hypo or hyper, I like to know that I can leave my cinema seat in good time to fix the problem.

Scanning on the Tube in London

Interestingly it was on my recent trip to London for the European Medicines Agency that I realised the effect that using the Freestyle Libre sensor and reader had on my confidence of glucose measuring whilst out in public. Whilst on the tube on the way to the hotel I started feeling a bit hypo, a common occurrence for me on the tube because of all of the stairs, carrying heavy luggage and the heat as a result of being underground. As those of you who have experienced the pleasure before, tubes are very confined and it often feels like the person next to you is sat on your lap. So it can be quite uncomfortable to take out blood testing equipment with what feels like everyone's eyes on you. But being able to scan to get glucose levels, meant I could treat what the reader allowed me to see as a declining glucose level- that was heading in the low direction, with a sugary drink. Then by the time my tube stop arrived, I was feeling much better and was able to continue with my journey safely.

The second event that had made me appreciate how I'd been feeling about blood sugar testing in public was that, when I attended the first of the EMA meetings, the conference room was very quiet, aside from the presenter who was speaking at the time. Which would normally have made me acutely aware of my diabetes, especially when my finger pricker would make its harpoon sound when it jabs my finger and the whole conference would have turned and stared at the noise (or what feels like anyway). But using the sensor device meant that I could discreetly measure my glucose levels (as I put it on silent), so that nobody was any the wiser, allowing me to avoid highs and lows that would have disrupted from the conference. Psychologically it was nice to have a break from the anxiety and the consciousness of blood sugar testing but to still know what my glucose levels were doing. Which was an unexpected outcome from my trial of the Abbott Libre sensor.

Scanning During the Training at the European Medicines Agency


  1. I wanted to share with you a great diabetes meter to turn your smartphone into a smart sugar meter with a very compact and easy to use app.
    Please check this out:

  2. Thank you for sharing about the Dario, I'm yet to try it yet. Hope you're getting on well with it however :-)



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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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