A continuous glucose meter, CGM for short, is a device that is worn on the skin, usually the abdomen or arm, and has the ability to provide minute-by-minute blood sugar readings. For people living with type 1 diabetes, like myself, this device is one of the most important pieces of technology when it comes to taking care of myself and managing the disease. Knowing both current and accurate blood sugar readings inform me about whether or not I need to take action to either lower or raise my glucose level. More amazing is the ability of a CGM to provide predictive trends based on past data. I'm able to be alerted if my sugar is falling faster than I realize and am able to course-correct given that input.
Our home is full of Amazon's Echo devices. In total, we have six of the 6" tall microphone-enabled speakers, and they quickly proved their usefulness when it came to receiving bits of information, controlling devices around the apartment, and playing audio. My fiancée and I ask it, or attempt to, nearly everything.
"Alexa, turn on the bedroom lights",
"Alexa, what's the weather next Tuesday?",
"Alexa, turn everything off", and more.
But what I hadn't been able to ask it, until today, was, "Alexa, what's my blood sugar?"
As I was getting ready to walk out of the apartment this morning, I realized I hadn't yet checked the app on my phone for my CGM to see what my blood sugar was. How cool, I thought, would it be to just ask Alexa, "what's my blood sugar", and hear her respond with the number? Now that would feel like living in the future.
Well, it turns out that enabling this was much easier than I thought!
Dexcom, the company which makes my CGM, has an app that allows for the user to share their data with others. I currently share with my fiancé, this way, if my blood sugar dips low while we're apart, she's able to check on me, or get the help I need, and know that I'm alright.
In researching if connecting Dexcom and Alexa was possible, I came across an app called Sugarmate, which is a companion app for Dexcom. Sugarmate has the ability to connect with Dexcom, import the data in real-time, and provide even more detailed information back to the user. The developers of Sugarmate have also created an Alexa skill which syncs with your account, already receiving real-time blood sugar data, and by enabling this skill, it now becomes possible to say, "Alexa, ask Sugarmate what my glucose is", and she'll reply with the most recent reading!
It feels magical.
Diabetes is a disease that comes with a large, and often annoying, cognitive load. I'm always thinking about where the closest source of sugar is, what I previously ate, how complex the carb was and given that, how long will my sugar remain stable. Because of this, any device or tool that promises to make the day-to-day even just a tad bit easier can be a really big win.
Now that the two are connected and working, I can't wait to try this out!