The Sensor Made Life Easier

[THU APR 27 2017; A9; ’Sensori helpotti elämää’, Salla Karpiola]


The small sensor on Reijo Saksa’s arm measures his blood glucose from his interstitial fluid. Saksa thinks the sensor is very easy to use. PHOTO: Esko Tuovinen


Reijo Saksa ordered a blood glucose sensor from an English online store. It costs him 3 000 euros a year, but half that for the municipal health care system.


The sensor attached to Reijo Saksa’s upper arm has made his life significantly easier.

He replaces the sensor every two weeks. Whenever he wants to know his blood glucose information, he brings the reader device close to the sensor. The device can get the readings even through clothing.

– It measures blood glucose from interstitial fluid. It’s so easy to use that I measure my glucose all the time, Saksa says.

Saksa was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was a young man. He is very happy about his sensor. It is most important to be able to control the fluctuations in blood glucose that are characteristic to type 1 diabetes.

– Nights have previously been problematic. The reader records the information so I know the right amount of insulin to inject, Saksa says.


The FreeStyle Libre monitoring system has cause a stir, because it is not sold to private customers. To get to use the sensor, one has to get it through public health care, but the process is not that simple.

The absence of common criteria in the municipalities of Finland is thought to be the problem. When one cannot get a sensor in Hämeenlinna, they may get one in Riihimäki.

– All people should be equal. When I first heard about the sensor from my doctor, I contacted the manufacturer, Abbott. They simply said that the devices are sold only to municipalities, Saksa shrugs.

Saksa has been enthusiastic in presenting the sensor to health care staff, but only a few of them had previous knowledge of its existence.


In Finland, there are only 6 000 sensors in use, even though it is known to be a brilliant invention. Those Finns with friends in Sweden have ordered sensors from Swedish online stores. Reijo Saksa found an English website that sold them, and ordered his from there.

– I don’t want to get the sensor for free, but I would like to pay the same price for it that society does, Saksa says.

When ordered from England, the reader device alone cost 120 euros and two weeks’ sensors cost 80 euros. In Finland, the yearly cost of having a sensor is 1 400 euros, and 3 000 euros when ordered online.

– I’m excited about the social welfare and health care reform, because it’s meant to make all customers equal.

There are currently over half a million diabetics in Finland. Reijo Saksa believes that treatment will develop rapidly. The sensor may be able to be connected to an insuline pump, thus creating an artificial pancreas.

– We Finnish diabetics are still in a good situation. Many other countries have it a whole lot worse, Saksa points out.


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