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The Updated Way of Managing My Diabetes

How Diabetes Tech Supports Glucose Management Before and After Surgery 

By Vanessa Haydock, The Diabetic Health Coach

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.

Approved on 28/11/2023



Recently I had to undergo surgery; I was under general anaesthetic for over four hours. As we all know, surgery for someone living with Type 1 diabetes requires much more preparation and planning, as well as closer, more frequent monitoring of glucose levels than for someone without diabetes. That’s because it is incredibly important to ensure our glucose levels are well controlled and are not too low or high before, during and after surgery; surgeons also need to know what our glucose levels are during the surgery.

When I have had surgery in the past, before having access to the FreeStyle Libre 2 system, it was a lot more difficult to manage my glucose levels both in the lead up to the surgery and after. This is because I had to check my glucose levels more frequently, meaning an increase in sore fingers, more blood having to be drawn and more fiddling around with test strips and lancets. All I can say is thank goodness for the FreeStyle Libre 2 system giving me glucose readings in real time* without the need to finger prick

Pre-surgery considerations

Before surgery, I always aim to be in range as much as possible and I also need to ensure that my glucose levels are not too low. Having to balance my glucose levels using only a blood glucose meter in the past was very difficult, but with the FreeStyle Libre 2 system this time, I was able to visually see what direction my glucose levels were going in, just by looking at the FreeStyle LibreLink app on my phone**, as well as understanding the direction they were going in. For example, I did see a downward arrow around an hour before my surgery, so I was able to have a little bit of sugar water to top up my glucose levels!

Challenges post-surgery

As many of us know, any stress on the body (and in my case also the general anaesthetic) can send our glucose levels sky high due to the increase in stress hormones. Well, this is exactly what happened to me, I could NOT get my glucose levels down for a good few days after the surgery. Luckily, I had my FreeStyle Libre 2 system to hand which made it so much easier to keep a close track of the direction my glucose levels were heading in whilst they were being incredibly stubborn! Most importantly, as I had to do more insulin corrections to help reduce my rising glucose levels, it allowed me to keep a very close eye on my levels just in case they were shooting down too quickly.

Added peace of mind

Overall, the FreeStyle Libre 2 system made managing and monitoring my glucose levels so much easier, whilst also reducing my anxiety around what my glucose levels were pre and post-surgery, making the experience so much more positive than in previous years without access to real-time glucose readings.

The Updated Way of Managing My Diabetes

Diabetes no longer controls my life

References & Disclaimers

* Glucose readings are automatically displayed in the FreeStyle LibreLink app only when user's smartphone and sensor are connected and in range.

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

** 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.