Introduction to Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a technology used to track a person’s blood sugar levels over time. It consists of a small sensor that measures glucose every few minutes and sends the results wirelessly to a monitor which displays the data. CGM offers people with diabetes more choices and control over their treatment plans, allowing them to better manage their condition. It is a sophisticated tool used to track and monitor your blood glucose levels in real-time. It works by placing a small sensor underneath the skin that measures glucose every few minutes, providing an accurate and up-to-date reading of your glucose levels throughout the day.
Accuracy of CGMs
The accuracy of CGMs has been increasing with newer models being much more reliable than previous models due to advances in technology like smaller sensors, faster scanning frequencies, etc. Currently, most systems are able to provide accurate glucose readings within 5 minutes and about 20% ± 15mg/dL nearly 95% of the time meaning users should not rely solely on these systems as primary sources for managing blood sugars, but it can be a useful supplement in many cases.
Benefits of Continuous Glucose Monitoring
- Real-time glucose readings: CGM systems measure blood sugar levels every five minutes and display them on a device for ease of access. This minimizes the need for fingersticks to check blood sugar levels or test strips that would require manual testing.
- Reduced carb counting: Many people with diabetes rely on carb counting to control their blood sugar levels, but CGM provides an easier solution by automatically reading past and present data points and syncing with other available exercise and diet metrics to calculate a bolus dose of insulin at meal times.
- Easily track results: One of the best benefits of using CGM is being able to see your current glucose values and trends over a period of time – all in real-time! Many devices now have capabilities to export data into other programs or platforms like Fitbit, so users can keep track of their glucose trends easily and conveniently over time.
- Improved A1C score: CGM systems allow people with diabetes to stay on top of daily glucose fluctuations without additional effort putting less strain on everyday activities like exercising etc., which will ultimately result in improved A1C scores and fewer instances of acute hypoglycemic events.
- Customized support: CGM systems always come with personalized coaching regarding lifestyle choices, diet changes, medication management, etc., yielding better control over Type 1 Diabetes over time than simply monitoring manual fingersticks only. By customizing care tailored to individual needs and lifestyles, people are more likely to maintain good habits long-term leading to improved health outcomes overall.
- Reduced healthcare costs: In addition to wellness benefits, long-term use of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) system helps reduce preventable hospitalizations and other associated costs when it comes to managing type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes as healthcare providers are able to target areas where modifications may be needed much sooner due improving monitoring capabilities from a simplified remote device any time day or night rather than waiting for office visits – saving time & money too!
Different Types of CGMs On the Market
- Abbott Freestyle Libre – The Abbott Freestyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System includes a small, water-resistant wearable device that measures and shows glucose levels in real-time while completely avoiding any finger pricks.
- Medtronic Guardian Sensor 3 – Made from tiny, flexible medical components and designed to remain discreet under one’s clothing, it has a small insertion depth which increases comfort and reduces sensitivity to tissue thickness.
- Senseonics Ever sense CGM System – A smartphone app helps monitor the glucose level as soon as someone enrolls for this three-month-long implantable system for continuous glucose monitoring.
How to Set Up & Use CGM?
- Choose a CGM Brand: Before you set up and start using your CGM device, it’s important to choose the right brand. There are several brands out there to choose from and each has different features, accuracy levels, prices, and more. Do your research so you can pick the best model for your lifestyle, budget, and goals.
- Set Goals: Setting personal goals with your doctor or healthcare provider is extremely important before you begin using a Continuous Glucose Monitor. Having specific target blood sugar ranges in mind will help give you insight into how much insulin to administer and how often throughout each day. Additionally, setting goals helps ensure long-term success with the device.
- Start New Sensor: Once you select a device, you’ll need to place it on your skin near either your stomach or upper arm area in order to get readings from inside your body through the sensor tip that goes just under the first layer of skin The remainder of the sensor then stays outside of the body for easy access to read diabetic numbers safely and accurately. Depending on the brand and model, sensors last roughly seven days before needing replacing.
- Calibrate: With any CGM it’s always necessary to calibrate your sensor data with a manual finger prick every 12 hours after initially wearing it on the body with traditional test strips. By doing this users can gain more accurate blood glucose predictions throughout their wear time as well as have an overall better user experience if done together routinely. It is important for people taking insulin or other glucose medications to include calibration times when increasing their dose size so that these increased amounts show up accurately in readings over time.
- Monitor & Adjust: Finally, once someone begins wearing their CGM its important for them to stay monitoring the device for any changes or patterns between readings Thus this also includes being aware of changing preferences ranging from different types of exercise intensity unplanned meals longer hours of sleep etc within heaps these variations wearers must remain self – aware about unique individual needs habits trends. This practice not only helps produce reliable details but allows people to control their own health outcomes far more efficiently than ever before.
Risks and Side Effects Associated with CGM
- Skin Irritation: Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) requires a small insertion or sensor just below the surface of the skin. There is a possibility of mild skin irritation and discomfort at the insertion site.
- False Readings: CGM has been known to inaccurately display low or high readings at times due to inconsistent sugar levels in the interstitial fluid, interference from movement, or wear and tear on the equipment. Blood sugar tests may need to be conducted periodically in order to double-check that readings are accurate.
- ṭ: Although infection risk is usually minimal, there is always a chance of infection with any type of intrusion into the body, including CGM placements. It is important for medical providers to insert it properly, maintain hygiene around it, watch for any signs of an infection, such as redness or inflammation around the site; promptly seek medical attention if an infection occurs.
- The buildup of Subcutaneous Fluid: Excess subcutaneous fluid can build up around CGM sites due to both swelling caused by tissue damage after placement and fluid accumulation caused by contact with liquids used for calibrations (such as water).
- Battery Issues: Batteries powering these devices can run down quickly or suddenly lose power if not monitored properly.
Alternatives to using Continuous Glucose Monitoring
- Blood Sugar Tracker App: If you’re looking for a non-invasive way to track your blood sugar, then a diabetes tracking app might be the solution for you. A popular example is the Blood Sugar Tracker app from Glucose Buddy. It’s free to download, and you can use it to log and chart your blood sugar levels. Additionally, many apps provide insights about how different food choices or activities may affect your glucose levels.
- Glucometers: Glucometers are simple handheld devices that measure glucose levels with speed and accuracy when used in conjunction with lancets (small needles). There are two types of glucometers: strips and digital readers. Strips require a tiny drop of blood drawn from your fingertip while digital readers get readings by swiping a test strip across the unit’s reader after inserting a small amount of your sample into the test strip itself.
- Glucose Monitoring Wristbands: The latest development in wearable technology has been glucose monitoring wristbands that monitor glucose levels continuously and alert users if their glucose reaches unsafe levels. These wristbands automatically track glucose levels without ever having to prick yourself or manually enter data into an application – plus they look sleek and modern too!
- Finger Prick Meter Systems: Finger prick meter systems are quite similar to glucometers in terms of functionality but they take readings faster than glucometers and store more data points such as entry points, comments related to activity, exercise intensity, etc… Another great benefit is that these systems often come with mobile applications that allow users to easily export all relevant data like charts/graphs summarizing their readings at any given time point which helps them stay on top of their diabetes management routine without needing to prick themselves every single hour of the day!
- Insulin pumps: Insulin pumps are devices used by people with Type I diabetes who need regular injections of insulin but don’t want to rely solely on manual injections or finger stick meter readings during the day. An insulin pump consists of a reservoir filled with insulin, tubing connected between the reservoir and a site where it is inserted subcutaneously just beneath one’s skin, as well as hardware containing a dashboard measuring current insulin levels before allocating new doses based on preset parameters entered beforehand by an endocrinologist or user themselves depending on the model chosen. There are a lot of pumps in the market that you can choose from like Insul by Agva, Medtronic 670g, Omnipod DASH, and t: slim X2 Insulin Pump.
- Diet & Exercise: Another great alternative for managing diabetes without using continuous glucose monitoring is diet and exercise! Making sure you eat healthier combinations of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats alongside ensuring adequate physical activity (around 150 minutes per week) have been a proven effective strategy for improving overall glycemic control in both types I & type II diabetics alike!
Frequently Asked Questions About CGM
What is CGM?
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems are devices that help people living with diabetes collect real-time glucose data throughout the day and night.
Who could benefit from using CGM?
People who would benefit most from using CGM are those with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or prediabetes as well as pregnant women with diabetes or gestational diabetes or anyone else at risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). CGM also helps individuals looking to further understand their glucose trends on a daily basis.
How does CGM work?
CGM systems work through the use of a tiny sensor that you can insert just below the surface of the skin and into the tissue. The sensor then measures sugar levels in between the cells which provides an accurate representation of your body’s average sugar level over time.
Where can I buy a CGM system?
You can purchase a CGM system both online at specialized websites like Diabetes Depot or directly from your local pharmacy depending on what type you need for your condition specifically. Additionally, most insurance plans cover some portion of the cost for devices related to diabetes management, so it is important to research different options with your healthcare provider before making any purchases.
Is it difficult to use a CGM system?
Not necessarily! In fact, modern CGMs have become increasingly user-friendly making them easier than ever to install and utilize effectively even for beginners!
Can I trust my results are accurate?
Yes! Many newer models come equipped with innovative SMBG verification technology including an integrated Microdot Reader which gives users confidence in knowing their readings are reliable and accurate each time they access results digitally on their compatible device!