Diabetics have a rough time. Their inability to properly process blood sugar means that they need to keep close watch of how high or low their blood glucose levels get. In the past, this has always meant that blood needs to be taken from a person’s fingers to be and analyzed by a handheld glucose monitor. It became a painful process. Pricking yourself could also build up calluses, meaning that each prick needed to go a little deeper to reach blood.
In an effort to try and avoid the consistent need to draw blood, alternative methods have been developed. The most important piece of equipment is what’s known as a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). These are prickless blood glucose monitors which allow you to learn about your current blood sugar levels without having to draw out the blood! This may seem like a contradiction, but they work well. These common questions help explain everything about using a CGM.
1: How does a continuous glucose monitor work?
A: In essence, these pieces of equipment are pretty simple. A monitor with a sensor is worn through adhesive on the belly or on the arm. This monitor is inserted under the skin. It then sends the information to the receiver. This means that glucose is continually monitored and it looks for anomalies in which the levels rise too high or too low. It can then alert the receiver and the person. From there, steps can be taken.
2: Who cause use a continuous glucose monitor?
A: Obviously, the first requirement is having diabetes. If you don’t have the disease, you don’t need a monitor. More than that, you need to have Type 1 diabetes. With this form of diabetes, the body is unable to produce the hormone that breaks down blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes is often better described as being “resistant” to properly processing that sugar. Type 1 diabetes requires manual injections and can be prone to even bigger swings in blood sugar levels. There’s also minimum age requirements. Most require 2 years of age as a minimum. Essentially, speak with your doctor to determine if a CGM is a good idea for your medical situation.
3: What are some benefits of using continuous glucose monitors?
A: There are several benefits to choosing to use a CGM. Obviously the first is not having to constantly prick your fingers for blood. The information from the receptor can easily be sent to a smartphone. This can make alerts more obvious and easy to see and respond to. Many devices allow you to keep track of things like physical activity and food consumption. It will basically perfectly reproduce your day and allow you to examine the trends that are affecting your blood glucose levels.
4: Can a CGM give treatment suggestions?
A: Right now, if a CGM gives a person a warning, then the results need to be confirmed with a traditional glucose meter check. It should be the same results, but a double check is necessary. There is one exception however. The Dexcom G5 Mobile version is considered to be equivalent to an exterior test, with more CGMs potentially having that kind of diagnostic power by this reading. As always, check with your doctor for proper use and reaction of any CGM.
5: Which companies make Continuous glucose monitors?
A: As mentioned before, Dexcom is one of the leading manufacturers and has a variety of continuous glucose monitors. They are not the only company that makes a CGM however. Guardian Connect is another quality brand that will send information directly to smartphones. The Freestyle Libre will send information to a handheld reader that can also save information to the cloud for easy access from other platforms. The Eversense Continuous Glucose Monitoring system has an advantage because the sensor lasts for around 3 months instead of around a week!