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Guide to type 1 diabetes technology

Our guide to type 1 diabetes technology gives you information about insulin and the different ways to get it into your body. You can find out about the different devices that can help you monitor your blood glucose levels.

A man showing his glucose monitor - a key treatment and technology for type 1 diabetes
01

What is type 1 diabetes technology?

Simply put, type 1 diabetes technology is technology that helps you manage type 1 diabetes. There are devices that help you take the right amount of insulin at the right times, and devices that help you measure your glucose levels throughout the day. Sometimes these devices work together to help automate parts of type 1 management, which can help it feel like less of a burden.

It’s completely up to you whether you use type 1 technology, which devices you want to use and how many of them. Some people are happy with multiple daily injections and finger-prick tests, whilst others may find hybrid closed loop systems beneficial. Managing type 1 is very personal, and it’s fine to take your time exploring the options to see what works for you.

02

What technologies are used for type 1 diabetes?

Insulin pumps, insulin pens and smart insulin pens are used for infusing or injecting insulin. Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and flash glucose monitors measure glucose levels. Hybrid closed loop technology, or the artificial pancreas as it is sometimes known, measures glucose levels and also administers insulin.

Remember to talk to your Diabetes Healthcare Team for further information and support. If you don’t currently attend a specialist clinic, ask your GP to refer you.

03

Taking insulin

A smart insulin pen and mobile app

Insulin pens

Using a pen to inject insulin is how most people with type 1 start taking insulin. Find out more about insulin pens and how to use them.

Insulin pumps

Insulin pumps deliver insulin automatically throughout the day and night. Extra insulin can be easily delivered to cover food or bring down high glucose levels. Find out how they work and how you may be able to get one.

Smart insulin pens

Smart insulin pens work like normal insulin pens but connect to an app, which records how much insulin you’ve taken and when. Find out more and how you can get one.

04

Checking blood glucose levels

A woman with type 1 diabetes using a blood glucose meter

Blood glucose meters

Blood glucose meters are used throughout the day to check blood glucose levels. They’re also used alongside continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and flash glucose monitors.

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)

Continuous glucose monitors give you real-time information on your glucose levels and alert you if your levels are going too high or too low. You can also share glucose readings with others.

Find out how CGM might help you and how to get one on the NHS.

Flash glucose monitoring

Flash glucose monitoring allows you to scan a sensor attached to your body to get your latest glucose reading. You can also set alarms if your glucose levels are going too high or too low.

Find out more about flash and how to get one on the NHS.

 

05

Delivering insulin automatically

Hybrid closed loop technology, also known as the artificial pancreas, takes readings from a CGM to tell a pump how much insulin to deliver. It can relieve much of the burden of daily type 1 management.

Find out more and how to get one on the NHS.

06

Other technologies

Open source and DIY systems

Free, open-source tools are available that can help you manage your type 1 more easily and let you share your glucose data with your diabetes team, carers or loved ones. Find out more about open source and DIY systems.

Blood ketone meters

Blood ketone meters measure levels of ketones in your blood so you can detect them sooner than you could with urine ketone testing. This will enable you to take action sooner, so they don’t go too high and become dangerous. Learn about ketone monitoring using a blood ketone meter.

07

What type of diabetes technology can I get on the NHS?

The devices that are available on the NHS can differ, depending on whether you need to meet certain criteria in terms of your type 1 diabetes management or what’s on offer where you live. Find out what you are entitled to in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland on our pages below:

Read more
A woman wearing a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor

Can I get a glucose sensor on the NHS?

Read more
An insulin pump

Can I get an insulin pump on the NHS?

Read more
James Baird in the artificial pancreas / hybrid closed loop trial, holding his phone showing a mobile app used to monitor his type 1 diabetes

Can I get hybrid closed loop on the NHS?

08

Choosing the right tech for you

Deciding whether to use type 1 technology and then choosing the devices and apps that work best for you can be a bit daunting. There are different options to choose from, each one with different pros and cons.

The NHS tool, Making a decision about managing type 1 diabetes, gives you information, checklists and sections to fill out to help you make decisions about what tech you’d like to use. Once completed, you can take it to your clinic appointment to discuss your options with your Diabetes Healthcare Team.

It also outlines what is available on the NHS in England and Wales. If you’re based in Scotland or Northern Ireland, the checklists and information about the different types of technology will still be relevant and helpful. You can find out what’s available on the NHS in your region on our website, as outlined in the section above.

If the guide doesn’t fully answer your questions, you can contact our specialist team.

More stories

Type 1 technology news

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Hybrid closed loop technology
Type 1 technology
19 December 2023

NICE Approves hybrid closed loop for the majority of people living with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales

In an historic advancement in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) today approves hybrid closed loop for the majority of people living with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales.

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Nina Willer, who used hybrid closed loop technology through pregnancy, and her child.
Treatment research
7 November 2023

Hybrid closed loop technology set to be made available in England and Wales

The announcement is the biggest treatment breakthrough for type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin.

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Illustration of the hybrid closed loop technology system, funded as part of treatment research for type 1 diabetes by JDRF.
Type 1 technology
21 August 2023

NICE’s latest consultation on hybrid closed loop

As part of its assessment of hybrid closed loop (HCL), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today published an additional consultation on its roll out.

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A woman standing in a park using the Omnipod 5 system for type 1 diabetes
Type 1 technology
21 June 2023

Omnipod 5 becomes the latest hybrid closed loop system available in the UK

Insulet, the company who make Omnipod® products, has announced that their Omnipod® 5 hybrid closed loop (HCL) technology is now available in the UK.