Did you take your insulin? Timesulin wants to help you remember
One of the most unique questions we ask is, "Did I take my shot…or not?"
Many of those who are insulin-dependent have often run into the dreaded question of whether they took their insulin shot. Ironically enough, that question has become much more prevalent in the years since the insulin pen became more popular than the traditional syringe and vial. Drawing insulin up in a syringe takes much more time, and thus more attention; an insulin pen allows you to dial up the proper insulin amount and take the shot within seconds.
But since insulin pens have no benchmark to remind you of how long it was since your last injection, the possibility of skipping an injection -- or taking a second shot, thus giving yourself too much insulin -- is a very real and constant worry.
Necessity is the mother of new diabetes inventions
Timesulin is a simple replacement cap designed to fit on your insulin pen. The cap has a timer that starts when you click it into place. The timer tells you at a glance how long it has been since your last insulin injection, thus helping you avoid skipping a shot or taking too much. The cap can be used over and over, and the battery life typically lasts for one year.
Founder John Sjölund has lived with type 1 diabetes for 26 years, so he recognized the need for simplicity in diabetes care. "We wanted something that was so simple to use it would fit straight into your daily life, with nothing new to learn, nothing to program, nothing to have to 'figure out'," he said. "I think that people who are living with diabetes 24/7 are desperate for solutions that will make their lives a little more balanced. We want to concentrate on all the tough things in life that are not necessarily diabetes-related, right?"
Sjölund often faced the question of whether he took his shot or not, and waited patiently for a product to remedy that solution. It always seemed just over the horizon. "For years I had been asking my doctors if anything could help -- and they always said that they had heard rumors that something was in the pipeline," he said. "That pipeline never materialized, so we took matters into our own hands."
Sjölund and his brother Andreas came up with the idea in 2008, and turned to friend Marcel Botha to make the concept a reality. Timesulin went through over 100 iterations to become a replacement cap that was sleek, slim and fit seamlessly with the majority of insulin pens on the market. The goal was to create something so simple that it didn't require even the most basic instruction manual -- you just slip it onto the pen and that's it.
"It fits a very definite gap in the market and it's simple enough for anyone, from a five-year old who is just starting to inject himself to an 82-year old grandmother, to figure out and incorporate into the routine that works for their insulin management," Sjölund said.
Still far to go for equal diabetes care
The number of people living with diabetes continues to climb. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that 25.8 million people in the United States were living with diabetes in 2010, with another 79 million were at risk. Worldwide, the number is a staggering 346 million, according to the World Health Organization. Many of those individuals take medication to control their diabetes, including insulin injections.
As the number of individuals diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow, so does the very strong and active diabetes community. Millions of those living with diabetes are ready, willing and able to get behind products that make a difference.
Sjölund has seen that support first-hand. "The response has been way beyond my wildest expectations," he said. "We weren't expecting to have such a vocal community of supporters behind us. Big blogs, small blogs, Tweeters, Facebook fans, you name it. We've been embraced by a caring and super informed community."
Unfortunately, there are still those who struggle to find the most basic diabetes care. "The biggest challenge with diabetes, in my opinion, is the lack of access to treatment that so many hundreds of thousands of people have," Sjölund said. "Many people don't have access to even the basics and we need to work to solve it. It's a global problem and the difference in treatment is so vast -- it doesn't seem fair to me. None of us chooses a life with diabetes and certainly, no one deserves to live with diabetes without access to proper care."