Dealing with Diabetes Burnout


Dealing with Diabetes Burnout

Caroline is a MiniMed Ambassador and living with type 1 diabetes. She is a university student, studying English Literature and Rhetoric and Pediatric Nursing. Her interests include cooking and nutrition, exercising, writing, and volunteering to read to children at her local library. She’s passionate about leveraging her experiences to answer questions and help people with diabetes through tough times.


On August 24, 2006, in a doctor’s office bordered by primary colored walls, I sat awaiting my 10-year check-up. Simple and ordinary, it seemed, but my pediatrician brought news that would change my life: There was excess sugar in my urine and I would have to go directly to the hospital. She discreetly whisked my mother into her private office and confirmed my mother’s suspicion—I had type 1 diabetes.  

Since my diagnosis I’ve had ups and downs, of course. “Diabetes burnout” is definitely one of the downs! There are different levels of burnout, though. At one end of the spectrum, burnout might mean that the person with diabetes has completely given up on managing their disease. But burnout can be more subtle than that.

Diabetes burnout can simply be a sensation. An overwhelming feeling, for sure, but one that doesn’t necessarily lead to sky high blood sugars and devastating consequences. It might be a phase when you do everything that you normally do for your diabetes care, but there is a troubling drain and lack of determination to confront your daily diabetes management routine.

Over the years, I’ve figured out a few ways to handle burnout and keep it in control. I’ve found that my MiniMed insulin pump system with built-in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) helps by taking a lot of the guesswork out of my disease management. My insulin pump truly changed my life. Gone are the days of calculations and rounding. Instead, I can get the exact amount of insulin I need through a simple press of a button. My personal favorite though is the CGM. At any point during the day I’m able, without the prodding of a needle, to see where my sensor glucose is at that moment. That to me is incredible. Not only does it relieve a good portion of my stress, but it also helps me monitor how food and activity affect me individually. Strawberries, for example, might make the blood sugar of one of my friends who has diabetes high, but they might not affect me in the same way. My MiniMed devices help me identify these trends quickly and easily.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in dealing with diabetes burnout is that it can truly be whatever it means to you. It might be that your fingers hurt from the unceasing violation of needles. Or that you’re exhausted with trying to find a new site without scar tissue from your insulin pump infusion sites or injections. Maybe you’re frazzled from assessing the carbohydrate count in your dinner out with friends. Or maybe you’re sick of feeling remorseful every time you indulge in a “bad” food because your disease regulates almost everything you eat.

The bottom line is that diabetes burnout is your own experience, your own way of coping or dealing with your disease. You have every right to feel it and show it, but the important thing to notice is when it becomes too much, when it takes over your life. If your burnout actions threaten your well-being, it’s imperative to seek help, whether it’s confiding in a friend or a professional. I always thought I was wrong for saying that I was “burned out” even though my A1C was better than ever. It was this notion that I needed “perfection,” and that was exhausting! No matter how “perfect” our numbers may appear or our diabetes care may seem, diabetes is always there, demanding attention, and you are entitled to feel entirely burned out at times.

One of the most significant things I’ve observed is to stay motivated, not “perfect.” Quite a few people with diabetes, myself included, feel as if they should constantly have their blood sugars in range and become irritated when they don’t reach their goals and their numbers throw them a curve ball. In my opinion, knowing that sporadic glucose variability isn’t your fault can help relieve a lot of the stress associated with managing diabetes.

Diabetes burnout happens to all of us. But there are things we can do to keep it from getting out of control. Talk to your healthcare providers, your friends, and other members of the diabetes online community. There’s an amazing group of compassionate people online who know just what you’re going through and can help you get through rough patches.

We also live in a time when we have technology available to help us stay on top of our disease. Since starting my regimen of insulin pump and CGM therapy, I can truly say that a lot of my worries have subsided. Having my sensor glucose data available at a glance and to be able to adjust my insulin doses at the push of a button has helped take a lot of the burden off my shoulders.  Does that mean I’m less on top of my diabetes care and management? No, it simply means I have more time to live my life, doing the things I love.

Could a MiniMed system help you minimize diabetes burnout? Click here for information on how you can try our brand-new insulin pump, the MiniMed® 630G system with SmartGuard™ technology, absolutely FREE! You can also read about the just-approved MiniMed® 670G system—the world’s first hybrid closed loop insulin delivery system—by clicking here.


MiniMed®630G System with SmartGuard Technology

The MiniMed 630G system with SmartGuard™ technology requires a prescription. It is intended for continuous delivery of basal insulin and administration of insulin boluses for the management of diabetes mellitus in persons 16 years of age or older, requiring insulin as well as for the continuous monitoring and trending of glucose levels in the fluid under the skin.  The SmartGuard feature allows one to program the pump to temporarily suspend delivery of insulin for up to two hours when the sensor glucose value falls below a predefined threshold value.  The MiniMed 630G system is not intended to be used directly for making therapy adjustments or preventing or treating hypoglycemia. Therapy to prevent or treat hypoglycemia should be administered according to the recommendations of the user’s healthcare professional.  The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a blood glucose meter (BGM). A confirmatory finger stick test via the CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 blood glucose meter is required prior to making adjustments to diabetes therapy.  Always check the pump display to ensure the glucose result shown agrees with the glucose results shown on the CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 Meter. Do not calibrate your CGM device or calculate a bolus using a blood glucose meter result taken from an Alternative Site (palm) or from a control solution test. Do not calibrate your CGM device when sensor or blood glucose values are changing rapidly, e.g., following a meal or physical exercise.  If a control solution test is out of range, please note that the result may be transmitted to your pump when in the “Always’ send mode. Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day, or who are unwilling or unable to maintain contact with their healthcare professional, or whose vision or hearing does not allow recognition of pump signals and alarms. Insulin pumps use U100 rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately. WARNING: The SmartGuard Suspend on low feature will cause the pump to temporarily suspend insulin delivery for two hours when the sensor glucose reaches a set limit. Under some conditions of use the pump can suspend again resulting in very limited insulin delivery. Prolonged suspension can increase the risk of serious hyperglycemia, ketosis, and ketoacidosis. Before using the SmartGuard Suspend on low feature, it is important to read the SmartGuard Suspend on low information in the Getting Started Guide and the MiniMed 630G System User Guide and discuss proper use of the SmartGuard Suspend on low feature with your healthcare professional.

Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected. Please visit for more details.