Lauren Salko is a professional freestyle skier who has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1998. Today, she shares how she uses Basal-IQ™ Technology, a predictive low-glucose suspend feature on her t:slim X2™ Insulin Pump, to manage her blood sugar while skiing and in her everyday life.
This post is sponsored by Tandem Diabetes Care®, but Lauren created the content and it is based on her personal knowledge, experiences, and observations.
As soon as I heard that Tandem Diabetes Care® was going to be releasing a predictive low-glucose suspend feature called Basal-IQ™ Technology, I could not wait to give it a try! It was made available to all existing in-warranty t:slim X2™ Pump users (that’s me!).
The fact that Basal-IQ Technology would be rolled out using the Dexcom G6® CGM System at the onset was the icing on the top of an already tantalizing cake. I had just ordered my Dexcom G6 CGM and was excited for all of the improvements over the Dexcom G5® Mobile CGM System.
The process of updating my current t:slim X2 Pump from home necessitated a new prescription from my endocrinologist. I entered my information into Tandem’s new customer portal, and they reached out to my doctor to request the script.
Once Tandem received the script from my doctor, the portal allowed me to complete training online. After a few short training videos and follow-up quizzes, I finished the training module. The last step of the process was to update my pump software. I used the code I was emailed after I completed training, plugged my pump into my computer, and the update was installed within minutes. The actual update was the shortest part of the whole process!
I started up my Dexcom G6 CGM and after the two-hour warm-up period, I was up and running with Basal-IQ Technology. That first night with the Basal-IQ feature running, I decided to go see a musical. As I was leaving the theater, I pulled my pump out and was amazed that the Basal-IQ feature had suspended my basal insulin delivery two times! I stayed between 110 mg/dL and 94 mg/dL the entire show and was able to enjoy my night without interruption.
Since that first night with Basal-IQ Technology, I have had countless experiences where the technology has suspended my basal insulin and helped me to do what I love while avoiding lows.
Just a few days after updating my pump, I went on my first mountain bike ride with the software. Normally, I need to consume some extra carbs on my ride or set a temp basal to help avoid low blood sugars (and even then, I normally either spike or go low at some point during a long ride). It is particularly difficult for me to manage my blood sugar effectively while mountain biking because there are periods where I am working very hard going up hills and periods where I am riding back downhill and not working nearly as hard.
I decided that I wouldn’t set a temp basal and would consume a lower carb drink than normal while I rode. Basal-IQ Technology kicked in, suspended my insulin twice on the ride, and I finished without going low or spiking!
One part of my life as a professional skier that diabetes has made challenging is travel. I travel very frequently and cross multiple time zones, which can make insulin dosing difficult. I struggle with lows at night sometimes due to jet lag and how my basal needs usually change throughout the day. This makes skiing my best hard, because if I am up at night with lows, I am not getting the rest that I need to perform at the highest level.
Basal-IQ Technology has helped so much with my nighttime lows! The teammates that I share a room with are definitely grateful that I am sleeping through the night, as am I. In fact, at my most recent three-week training camp in Europe, I only had to wake up one time to treat a low at night, which is a huge improvement.
It has only been a few months, but so far, Basal-IQ Technology has been a game-changer for me. In order to perform at my best, it is incredibly important for me to minimize lows. The Basal-IQ feature has made this so much easier for me. Having the data from my Dexcom G6 CGM right on my pump has helped immensely as I am able to easily see my BG all the time and see when Basal-IQ Technology has jumped in to help keep me in range.
Lauren Salko began alpine ski racing while attending high school in Maine. She continued to compete as a member of the Saint Anselm College varsity women’s team. She raced all over the world and placed in the top 10 at collegiate nationals, which earned her All-American status. Post-college, Lauren is competing full time. She has had many USASA podium finishes, including a third place podium finish at the 2018 USASA National Championships. When not traveling for ski races, Lauren shares her story at events around the United States as part of Tandem Diabetes Care’s Live Life in Full Color speaker series.
Lauren Salko was compensated by Tandem Diabetes Care for her contribution on this topic. However, she created the content and it is based on her personal knowledge, experiences, and observations.
Responsible Use of Basal-IQ Technology
Basal-IQ Technology is not a substitute for active diabetes management and does not prevent hypoglycemia in all scenarios. Basal-IQ Technology will not be able to predict glucose levels and suspend insulin delivery if your CGM is not working properly or is unable to communicate with your pump. Always pay attention to your symptoms and blood glucose levels and treat according to your healthcare provider’s recommendations.
From time-to-time, we may pass along suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem Insulin Pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. However, please note, individual symptoms, situations, circumstances, and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product. www.tandemdiabetes.com/important-safety-information