NICE now recommends Hybrid Closed Loop (HCL) systems for selected people with type 1 diabetes2

The new NICE technology appraisal recommendation means more people with type 1 diabetes qualify for HCL systems. Choose the FreeStyle Libre 3 sensor which is authorized to work with the mylife Loop1 AID system. Find out more.

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Not an Athlete - A Cyclist Riding
for Health and to Manage Type 2

Saying Goodbye to
Valuable Insights

I Have Diabetes; Diabetes Doesn't Have Me

By Elise Quarrington, triathlete and sports model

Disclaimer:The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional about your diabetes management.

Approved on 02/10/2020

At the age of 24, on 27th May 2017, my life changed forever. Let’s rewind a few years and I will give you the low down on how I almost lost my sight, my BMI dropped dangerously low; yet I was still competing at a high level of sport.

My name is Elise Quarrington and I am a 27-year old GB age group triathlete with Type 1 diabetes. In the run up to being diagnosed (yes there are going to be sport-related puns throughout), it’s safe to say I was pretty unwell.

Surprise diagnosis

It took months of having symptoms (extreme thirst, lethargy, loss of weight and sight, frequent urination - probably from the 7L of water a day I was drinking….) for me to go and get checked out by the GP as I never thought it would be something serious.

At the GP’s office, my blood sugar reading was 32mmol/L (ideal levels are between 4-7mmol/L). I was whisked to hospital and told I was very lucky not to be in a diabetic coma (when your blood sugar levels are dangerously high, causing loss of consciousness).

Since then, I have been injecting myself 10-15 times a day and have a new respect for my body. I am still training and aiming to race in some elite open water swim races over the coming years.

Support and mindset

Diabetes is a tough mental battle. I am a pretty positive person and I believe that living with diabetes has strengthened me.

Having a good support system in place definitely improves my management and mentality around diabetes too.

My amazing parents have stood around a triathlon course holding food out for me. And my partner has been my rock throughout, always there as a shoulder to cry on or to run through a field with a bag of jelly babies to get to me during a bad hypo.

I have been extremely lucky with the support I have and feel like I now have the chance to support others on their journey. Through the power of social media, I have been able to connect with a wide group of Type 1s and have felt part of a huge online community of people living with diabetes.

Data with a simple scan

A significant improvement in the management of my condition came about when I started using the FreeStyle Libre system. Suddenly I could check my sugar levels every few minutes with a simple scan, rather than pricking my fingers to get yet more blood out of tired, calloused fingers.

It has made my hypo awareness better, and I can see trends of when I spike or drop throughout the dayφ. A huge benefit for me is that I can use it on the bike/runs without stopping.

Let’s talk about it

I always get asked what the ‘patch’ (the FreeStyle Libre sensor) is on my arm - one person even asked if I had been tagged by the police… At first I felt anxious talking about my diabetes, fearing I would be judged. But now, I find it a great way to raise awareness as there is so little knowledge around the subject. So now I encourage questions and love talking about having diabetes.

If there is one message I want to get out there, it’s that diabetes isn’t going to stop you. I am a sports model, GB age group triathlete and run my own small business.

Don’t be afraid to ask for support - use social media to your advantage and to make friends. I like to remember that I have diabetes, but diabetes doesn’t have me.

Elise Quarrington is a triathlete, sports model and videographer who lives with Type 1 diabetes. Follow Elise on Instagram @the.athletic.diabetic.

Not an Athlete - A Cyclist Riding
for Health and to Manage Type 2

Saying Goodbye to
Valuable Insights

References and Disclaimers
† A finger prick test using a blood glucose meter is required during times of rapidly changing glucose levels when interstitial fluid glucose levels may not accurately reflect blood glucose levels or if hypoglycaemia or impending hypoglycaemia is reported by the system or when symptoms do not match the system readings.

φ For a complete glycaemic picture, scan once every 8 hours.